Crime victims speak with the Georgia parole board to help with cases

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Almost 200 victims of violent crimes got their voices heard in Augusta and helping the Georgia parole board make decisions in more than 70 cases.

"I always knew I wanted to hold those accountable for their crimes," said Ashley Muller, the assistant district attorney at the Augusta Judicial Circuit.

Ashley Muller is not only an assistant district attorney in Augusta, but violent crime also touched her life in a different way.

"Not only did McDaniel kill, dismember and dispose of my friend's body he also had multiple images of child pornography on his computer. This man is a horrendous person and he should never ever see the light of day again," said Muller.

A room of other violent crime victims listened.

"Grief never ends. It's been eight years but doesn't make it any easier," said Muller.

A month after graduating from law school in Macon, Lauren's neighbor and classmate was brutally murdered.

"Stephen McDaniel was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole," said Muller.

That's where this board comes in.

"We go from community to community to make sure that victims have input and they can actually meet with the board and that they can be heard," said Terry Barnard, the chairman of the parole board.

"In Lauren's case she doesn't have a voice so her family and friends have to be her voice," said Muller.

While victims waited, they wrote prayers and notes to their loved ones and made memorial buttons to wear.

"All things happen for a reason," said Von Daniels, who lost her son to murder.

Tears shed as others share their story and some traveling miles to get their voices heard.

"I miss you Bart and I love you dearly," said Marion Allen.

Joe and Marion Allen drove from Folkston in south Georgia. Their son Bart was murdered at 26.

"Mamas and daddies aren't supposed to bury their children. He was our only child," said Joe & Marion Allen.

Joe says the conviction was not enough.

"I told them that sentencing my son or anybody else's son or daughter is worth more than 20 years," said Joe & Marion Allen.

And parole is still an option.

"At the max, in two years he can walk the streets a free man, our son never took another step from the night of August 22, 2001," said Joe & Marion Allen.

If victims couldn't make it today, there's another chance this fall. They haven't decided when it will be but for more information, you can call the Georgia Office of Victim Services at 1-800-596-9474 or 404-651-6668.

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