AUGUSTA, Maine — Two gatherings will be held in Augusta this week in memory of murder victims.
The Maine Chapter of the Parents of Murdered Children and other survivors of homicide victims will take part in the seventh annual National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Fireplace Room at the Randall Student Center on the University of Maine at Augusta campus.
“This observance will pay tribute to the hundreds of Maine related citizens who have been murdered,” a press release about the event states.
There will also be a gathering Sunday for the groundbreaking of a memorial to Mainers who have perished by another’s hand. The ceremony for the Maine Murder Victims Memorial starts at 1 p.m., at the Holy Family Cemetery on Townsend Road in Augusta.
“The monument has been designed to honor those whose lives have been taken from us by violence,” Art Jette, the Maine chapter leader, said in a press release.
A reception will follow at the Calumet Club on Northern Avenue in Augusta, and the organization would like those interested in attending to contact member Diane Gagnon, treasurer for the group, at 623-8642, or email email@example.com by Wednesday.
Parents of Murdered Children is a national organization for the survivors of homicide victims. The organization provides family services and a place for family members or friends of victims to turn.
The state chapter has a list of more than 450 known Maine-related homicides over the past few decades but has family contacts for fewer than half of them.
If families are interested in having their loved ones’ names added to the list to be inscribed into the monument, they may contact Art Jette at 277-3518 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The full cost of the landscaping, building the monument and installing granite benches is about $40,000, and the group has about $5,000 left to raise, said member Yong Cha Jones of Bangor, who lost her only child, 24-year-old Laurence A. Jones Jr., in 1993 when he was gunned down during a robbery in Baltimore.
“The reason for this is so the parents of murdered children and victims of homicide will never be forgotten,” she said, wearing a necklace that features a photo of her smiling son.
Jones graduated from the University of Maine the year before his death and was studying at Johns Hopkins University when he was murdered. It would take police three years to arrest his killer. Yong Cha Jones went to the trial, and the man who shot her son was sentenced to life in prison.
The Maine chapter meets at noon on the fourth Sunday of every month at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. Those interested in contributing to the cause can contact Jette or the Maine Chapter of the Parents of Murdered Children by writing them at 6 Ballard Road, Augusta 04330.
BDN reporter Erin Rhoda contributed to this story.