Related Story: Homicide Victims Remembrance Display at Courthouse
This week, April 13-19, is the National Crime Victims' Rights Week. It is also the official Yavapai County Crime Victims' week. Which is why Sheila Polk, Yavapai County Attorney, and her office have created the Homicide Victims Remembrance Display at the County Courthouse. Ten people who died far too young and for no reason, are being commemorated at the Yavapai County Courthouse Square in downtown Prescott.
The unveiling of the display was this morning at 8:15, with a good-sized crowd in attendance representing the County Attorney's office, various county officials, law enforcement and other members of the community. But, most poignant of all were the members of the family sitting in the gazebo on the northwest corner of the Courthouse Square.
As part of her introductory remarks, Polk said, "I want to thank you for being a part of this National Crime Victim's Rights Week,and using your personal tragedy as an opportunity to be a voice for victims. I thank all of you for being here."
And then Polk offered an opportunity to the family members to speak. When she did, something remarkable happened. Family members did get up to speak - but their words were neither bitter or angry. Sorrowful, yes, and still full of anguish, but mostly they spoke words of appreciation and gratitude to the County Attorney's office, particularly to the Victim Services division.
Eddie Green was murdered over $130 owed for drugs. The first words his sister spoke today were, "This has given us more justice than anything."
Green's sister explained through tears and a choked up voice what happened to Eddie nearly three years ago, "My brother was 18 when he was murdered. He was murdered over drug money. A 30-some year old man did it. The fact that a grown adult would do this to a child to show an example to other drug users is probably the saddest thing. There's no reason why. That shouldn't happen for an adult to do that."
Then she managed a smile and said, "The criminal justice system has done a lot to improve crimes like this to be served correctly. First time offense for drugs, you get a lot more jail time, so I'm glad that's changed. Most of these deaths are caused by drugs or alcohol that caused us to lose someone that we love very much. I thank the victim's services so much, they are a part of my life now, when I think of the trial they went through and everything... Thank you so much for being here."
Next, a mother spoke of the son that she lost, and the support she received, "My name is Sandy Gilmore, and we lost our son, our only child to a drunk driver. He was burned to death in a car accident. If it wouldn't have been for victim witness and for Cathy Flynn [sp?] from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers), I don't know what we would have done. They were our support all the way through; it was a tough road to go. And Sheila, also, they are the kindest, sweetest people I've ever met in my entire life, and they'll be our friends forever. And I just hope that none of these tragedies affect anyone else in this group, it's a horrible way to live the rest of your life. And thank you for coming out, we sure do appreciate it. Thank you."
Tom Thurman, Yavapai County Supervisor, was the last family member to speak. His son, Charlie was shot in 1994 as he drove his friends from Lynx Lake. He spoke with a raw and gritty emotion as he said, "I need to thank all of you for what you do and the support that we get when we're victims. In tragedies such as this, we're not thinking straight. I guarantee it. And with your help and your guidance, it kind of gets us through it. We were in trial for over two years, two years of hell. It changed my life, my wife's, my other son's life, my parent's lives. It changes lives."
Thurman continued, "I get a little sick sometimes, people are constantly worried about the rights of the people that are found guilty, inside of these prisons or jails. Or what they're going to do when they get out. Excuse me, they have destroyed most of our lives... a lot of folks get divorces, a lot of them move away from where they love to live; it's brutal, it's disgusting, and if it wasn't for you guys helping us through this tragedy, I don't know if we would have made it. So thank you so much."
Polk closed the unveiling by saying, "I just wanted to personally thank all of you for being willing to share your tragedies with the members of my office. It's important for us to remember the faces behind what we do."
Why They Died
Four people died because someone was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Two people died because someone used a gun recklessly, and without regard for others. Four were killed by their spouse or boyfriend, either from abuse or a DUI.
Five people were found guilty of 1st degree murder, and sentenced to life imprisonment or more. Others received a lighter sentence, such as 4 or 5 years.
How and why makes no difference to the dead victims, or to their families, who still agonize over their missing loved one and always will.
Meet the Victims
Michael T. Doherty
Stephen Bruce, was driving an 18-wheeler under the influence of meth, and had not slept for 3 days. Bruce struck Michael's motorhome. Michael was killed, his wife and child recovered.
Bruce was found guilty of Reckless Manslaughter, Aggravated DUI and two counts of Reckless Endangerment. Bruce was sentenced to 8 years, and 10 years supervised probation. He'll be eligible for release in 2013.
Read the Doherty family message which is attached to the silhouette.
Misty-Ann McElmurry Brown
Separated from her husband, William Brown, Misty-Ann and their four children were staying with her parents. Brown hid in the house overnight, and when Misty-Ann's parents went to church, he killed her.
Brown was found guilty of 1st Degree Murder, Sexual Assault, Trespass, Kidnapping, Stalking and Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement. Brown was sentenced to natural life in prison, with an additional consecutive 43.5 years
Read Misty-Ann's family message which is attached to the silhouette.
Edward James Green, "Eddie"
03/02/87 - 04/29/2005
Eddie owed Norman Flanigan $130 for drugs. Flanigan obtained a gun from David Aggas and used it to shoot Green and kill him.
Flanigan was convicted of Pre-meditated 1st Degree Murder, and sentenced to atural life in prison, without parole.
Aggas was convicted of pre-meditated 1st Degree Murder, Weapons Misconduct, hindering prosecution charges. He was sentenced to life in prison, with possibility of parole after 25 years.
Cassandra Charlene Lang and her unborn child, Alexus Taylor Lang
Cassandra: 02/11/1987-04/30/2005; Alexus: 04/30/2005
Cassandra was 7 months pregnant, and in the car with her boyfriend, Michael Hartsock the father of her baby. Hartsock was driving under the influence of marijuana. Both Cassandra and her unborn baby died from the resulting car accident.
Hartsock pled guilty to Manslaughter and Endangerment charges, receiving a sentence of 5 years. He is eligible for release in 2011.
Shane Michael Gilmore
06/02/1976 – 11/10/2001
Shane was a passenger in a car being driven by Matthew McIntosh on Iron Springs Road. McIntosh, with a blood alcohol content registering 0.110, was driving at a high rate of speed and lost control of the car. McIntosh fled the scene as Shane burned to death, trapped in the fiery vehicle.
McIntosh pled guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter, Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Accident, Vehicular Endangerment. He was sentenced to 12.75 years in prison, and is eligible for release in 2013.
Katelyn Elizabeth Rinde, “Katie Bug”
Katie was just five years old when her father got into an argument with Eugene Pope over a dog fight. Katie was watching from a window in the house. Pope hit her father with a gun, and it discharged, striking Katie in the chest and killing her.
Pope was convicted of Negligent Homicide, Disorderly Conduct and Endangerment; and sentenced to 4 years in prison. He was released in 2000.
Charles Allan Thurman, “Charlie”
07/19/1975 - 06/24/1994
Charlie was driving friends down a Forest Service road after an evening at Lynx Lake. Jason Krause, who had frequently complained about folks driving down the road by his home, repeatedly shot at Charlie’s Jeep. One bullet struck Charlie in his head and killed him.
Krause was found guilty of Manslaughter and 3 counts of Attempted Manslaughter. Later a judge acquitted him of the Attempted Manslaughter charges. He was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison. He was released on 02/01/2005.
Patricia Irene Kreis
09/12/1948 - 05/08/1999
Tomas Madrid was high on meth, when he knocked on acquaintance Patricia Irene Kreis’s apartment door. When she let him in, he strangled her, and stabbed her 12 times in the neck. He then stole her credit cards and vehicle, which he later left in Granite Dells and set on fire.
Madrid was found guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder, Theft of Means of Transportation and Reckless Burning. He was sentenced to natural life imprisonment without parole, and an additional 8.75 years for the auto theft.
Margaret Mary Arrendondo “Mylo”
11/09/1965 – 12/26/1995
Margaret was in the process of starting a divorce from her husband, Norberto “Nick” Romo, because he was so abusive. On Christmas day, he beat her repeatedly, sexually assaulted her and kept her from leaving the apartment. On the 26th, he shot her, at which point she tried to crawl away. He shot her again and killed her.
Romo was found guilty of First Degree Murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Tammy Marie Nichols-Kimbrell
04/18/1967 – 09/12/2002
Tammy’s husband, Raymond Kimbrell was driving under the influence of alcohol on Hwy. 69, when he lost control of the vehicle. Tammy died in the crash.
Kimbrell pled guilty to Negligent Homicide, Criminal Damage and DUI. He was sentenced to 4 years in prison and was released on 09/07/2007.