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The Journal Gazette

  • Photos by Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Angelia Ware Grundy pays respect Sunday afternoon to victims of unsolved homicide cases, including her grandsons Shawn Ware and Donta Grundy.

  • People at Sunday’s Justice, Accountability & Victim Advocacy event hold candles outside the Allen County Courthouse to remember homicide victims.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Davion Ware, left, and Drevon Ware write the names of victims Shawn Ware and Drevon Grundy in chalk outside the courthouse Sunday afternoon during the vigil held by the “Justice Accountability Victim Advocacy” group.

  • Amy Davis of Justice, Accountability & Victim Advocacy leads a prayer Sunday outside the courthouse.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Victims with unsolved cases have their names written on crosses and displayed by year at the “Justice Accountability Victim Advocacy” vigil Sunday afternoon outside of the courthouse.

Monday, September 24, 2018 1:00 am

Gone but not forgotten

Homicide victims remembered by loved ones downtown

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

A few dozen people gathered Sunday afternoon in the shadow of the Allen County Courthouse to pay tribute to the city's homicide victims, whose chalk-written names covered the sidewalk alongside pleas for justice.

Family of the slain shook with emotion and struggled to speak as they shared their experiences, including the horror of discovering their beloveds' lifeless bodies.

“I asked God, 'Why? I'm a woman of faith,'” said Timika Bonner, whose 18-year-old son was killed in October 2012.

Recently formed group Justice, Accountability & Victim Advocacy, or JAVA, spearheaded the brief event. Organizers plan to hold monthly tributes as well as monthly meetings featuring speakers and connecting families with resources, spokeswoman Amy Davis said.

There have been 34 homicides in Allen County this year. There were 41 in 2017, making it the third time in five years the county had more than 40. The deadliest year was 2016 with 49 homicides.

When asked about Sunday's turnout, Davis said it is uplifting to see those affected by a homicide support each other.

It doesn't, however, ease the pain of losing a child, attendee Ruth Cox said. A portrait of her slain son, Michael Wilcher, was in her arms.

Wilcher, 51, was found beaten on Huffman Street last September. He died from blunt force injuries to the head. A poster at the event encouraged witnesses to come forward.

Before leaving her house Sunday, Cox looked at a family photograph featuring her six children. She tried to picture the image without Wilcher.

“It left a hole in our family,” Cox said. “We all miss him so dearly bad.”

Melissa Deputy attended in remembrance of three people and an unborn child who were killed on Holton Avenue two years ago. She described one of the victims as her stepson.

“They were all so full of life,” Deputy said.

Davis, who mourns a nephew, led those gathered in prayer. Along with comfort and love, she prayed for community leaders to solve the crimes.

Elected officials must be held accountable, fellow JAVA member Nasim Walker said, noting families can't have justice when killers remain free. She urged attendees to vote.

“They're supposed to protect us,” Walker said.

asloboda@jg.net