Victims remembered in vigil

Staff WriterJuly 30, 2007 

— In the parking lot off Lake Wheeler Road, small candles holding down tattered newspaper clippings served as a memorial to the slain.

More than 60 people gathered outside a South Raleigh convenience store Sunday where Jennifer Kathleen Nielsen and her unborn child were found dead June 14. Some were daughters and sons of victims; others were simply well-wishers who wanted to be there.

"It's by being here that we bear witness that violence is not God's way," said Rachel Smith, who led the vigil on behalf of the Triangle Interfaith Alliance.

Vigils Against Violence, an alliance program, gathered to remember Nielsen, her unborn child and five others killed between June 3 and July 1.

"We have to stop this violence," said Lillie Thorpe, 56, whose son, Damarkos Eugene Alan Thorpe, was killed June 10. "This destroyed my life."

The vigil also remembered four others:

* Pascual Cobix Xolo, 33, who was found stabbed near a Sam's Club in South Raleigh on June 3.

* Tyrone Robert Covington, 28, who was shot outside of a nightclub June 25.

* Veronica Malone, 38, who was run down with a car during a domestic dispute July 1.

* Fidencio San Agustin San Juan, 37, who was stabbed July 1.

The names of the victims were read, along with the circumstances of their deaths. A candle was lit over a newspaper story and photos of the victims. A bell rang out in memory after each name.

Kevin Blaine, Nielsen's father, and Sharlee Kubota, 17, Nielsen's sister, stood before the group wearing "Justice4Jenna.org" T-shirts and light-blue wrist bands.

"There's a killer on the loose," Blaine told the crowd. He had no new details Sunday on the investigation.

The vigil began as a partnership between Martin Street Baptist Church and Pullen Memorial Baptist Church and expanded to include the entire alliance, Smith said.

Sunday's message was summed up for the crowd by Nielsen's father.

"Just remember, don't forget," Blaine said.

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