News 12 First at Five and 6 o'clock, November 2, 2007
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---The family of Alecia and Jade Arangelin say the man who killed them, Robert Herring, was a monster.
The family says there were signs of abuse against Alecia at Robert's hands. By why he killed her daughter too, is a thought that will haunt them forever.
"He was insane. He was a psycho. He was a monster. I don't want anybody saying nice things about him because he murdered my sister and my niece. He was an evil person and that's what I want everybody to know," says Alecia's sister and Jade's aunt, Tanya Sullivan.
She's talking about her brother-in-law Robert Herring, a former Wackenhut employee, who police say murdered his wife and stepdaughter before turning the gun on himself.
"I want people to know what kind of a person he was. I don't want them to think he just snapped in the moment, he didn't just snap, he planned this. He assaulted my sister many times," adds Sullivan.
But why the attack happened now, when there weren't any recent signs of trouble, baffles this grieving family.
"We were all on vacation this past weekend. I stayed in the same room with him up in Blue Ridge. Everything seemed okay."
"So no sign of why right now?" we asked.
"No, no," Sullivan said.
"So why Jade?" we asked.
"We don't know why he did this to Jade," Sullivan said. "She was asleep in her bed. He shot her first they said. My sister, they said she sat up in bed so she had heard the gun shots but they said it probably all happened within a minute, and then he went and shot my sister. Jade was asleep in her bed. Why would he do this to my niece? My innocent 17-year-old niece?"
Haunting questions with no answer, but they believe this could have been avoided.
"Back in December of last year, my sister was assaulted, severely assaulted...I'm surprised she didn't die at that time," explains Sullivan.
At the time, Alecia had been married to Robert Herring for less than one month.
"She was so traumatized. She was bleeding out of her eyes, her nose, her ears."
But Alecia stayed and escaped another close call in May. "He called me and said 'Tanya, I'm out at this house and I'm drunk. I've got a gun and I'm going to kill her.'"
That's the night Tanya says Robert was cited for public disorderly conduct. If more had been done then, she says Alecia and Jade would still be here today.
The public viewing is scheduled for tonight at Rowland Funeral Home on Martintown Road in North Augusta from 6 pm until 8 pm.
The funeral is tomorrow (Saturday, November 3) at Big Stevens Baptist Church in North Augusta at 2 pm. The family is asking that friends and family who come, don't wear black and white. They feel colors would be more appropriate for the upbeat ceremony planned to celebrate the lives of Alecia Arangelin and Jade Arangelin.