Open to the community: D.A.-sponsored walk seeks solidarity for crime victims

Published 12:13 am Saturday, April 6, 2019

LAPLACE — Posters will decorate the Thomas F. Daley Memorial Park April 13 in loving memory of deceased victims of violent crime and in support of survivors in the throes of the criminal justice system.

The St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney’s Office is hosting a second annual one-mile awareness walk in observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, observed April 7-13.

District Attorney Bridget Dinvaut said the walk would take place rain or shine, allowing community members to stand in solidarity for victims who grieve years on end in the quest for justice.

“It’s so important that the victims understand we support them because from one media cycle to the next, the general public usually forgets,” Dinvaut said. “It is the victim, their family, their friends, their support system that has to be there for them throughout the entire term of the investigation and the prosecution.”

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. for the walk, free and open to the public.

Gift packs containing educational information and trinkets will be given out in the morning before a 9:30 a.m. welcome address. The one-mile walk begins at 10 a.m. in a loop around the Thomas F. Daley Memorial Park sidewalk.

Seating under a tent is available to those who choose not to walk, and healthy snacks and water will be provided to all.

A balloon release and announcement of raffle winners will take place after the walk, and the event closes with a prayer.

According to Dinvaut, more than 20 local businesses are sponsoring the event with gifts, door prizes and donations.

Participants do not have to be victims of crime to show support. Dinvaut said the impact of violent crime is widespread and far-reaching, with a ripple effect that touches the family, friends and support systems of victims and the accused.

“Violent crime is a reality, and it could happen to anyone,” Dinvaut said. “Our office wants to remember them no matter where they are in the prosecutorial cycle.”

Prosecution can often be lengthy, Dinvaut said, referencing the 2014 Feed Store homicide that finally went to trial less than two weeks ago.

The infamous 2012 shooting that killed St. John Parish deputies Brandon Nielsen and Jeremy Triche has yet to go to trial.

Victim’s advocate organization Crimefighters of Louisiana recently adopted the Triche case and hopes to contact the Nielsen family soon.

Crimefighters founder and state president Irv Magri Jr. said his team is writing letters to parish and state officials strongly requesting the case be moved forward to trial.

The District Attorney’s Office provides educational materials defining unfamiliar legal terms to help victims navigate the complicated legal system.

Similar resources will be distributed during the awareness walk.

For more information, call Jennifer Duhe at 985-618-1317.