PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There was dramatic and emotional testimony Monday as Philadelphia City Council’s Special Committee on Criminal Justice Reform held a hearing that focused on “victims” of crime. Parents of murdered children testified that they often feel forgotten in the push for reform.
The Committee heard a litany of grief from families.
“On the day before his 21st birthday, my son, Daryl Singleton was shot and killed,” said Trina Singleton.
“Our son was brutally murdered, he was shot 14 times,” explained Yulia Robins.
“I’m here representing my cousin, who was murdered, cold-blooded, while getting a haircut,” said Jesse Alejandro-Cruz.
They said their misery was often compounded by a lack of justice for the killers, either because they’re never caught — the city’s homicide closure rate is 37 percent — or, as Aleida Garcia of the National Homicide Justice Alliance explained, perceived leniency toward the perpetrators.
“People want the killer to get a second chance but we know our children will never get a second chance,” Garcia said. “They had no rights. They had no trial. They were executed and there’s no way for them to re-enter society.”
Also testifying, the new head of victims services for the District Attorney’s Office, Movita Johnson-Harrell, who is also the mother of a murder victim.
“We have to make sure that we’re raising the voice of the victims,” she said, “but we also have to make sure that as a community and as a society, we’re reducing homicide.”