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Crime Victims Honored, Share Stories

April 5th, 2017 by Jake Stofan

The mood was somber in the State Capitol today as the Governor and Attorney General honored victims of crime and those who rushed to help them.

They also declared this  Victims Rights Week in Florida.
Horrific crimes are tragic but not unique.
“What she endured was horrific. Watching a 13-year-old murdered in front of her, watching her friend murdered, shot seven times,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi.
And each violent crime leaves victims to pick up the pieces. Julie Weil was kidnapped, beaten stabbed and raped in front of her two children
“It’s a tragedy that I don’t think anybody ever expects to have happen to them, but these things happen,” said Weil.
When the ordeal  was over Julie had no way of identifying her attacker. Still authorities were able to arrest and convict the perp.
“What I am most proud of in my life is the four years that it took me to get to that finish line,” said Weil.
Stephani  Marion received a Distinguished Service Award from the Attorney General  for her work helping law enforcement and victims in the aftermath of the Pulse Nightclub shooting.
“Organizing all of the donors to include food donations, cleaning supplies,” Marion explained, “All the things you wouldn’t think you would need.”
But Marion pointed out it takes a community to make a difference after a tragedy.
“It really wasn’t just me. It was a communitty effort. Everyone in Orlando came together that week. I just got to play my little part,” Marion said.
Not everyone is as lucky as Julie Weil.
Displays on the top floor of the Capitol Building show the faces and stories of those lost to violent crime.
The Crime Victims Memorial Wall is part of the commemorative week.
It helps people put a face to the persistent issue of violent crime.
Seven individuals were presented with awards for their services at the ceremony.

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