Stephens County holds Victims' Rights Awareness Ceremony

Stephens County holds Victims' Rights Awareness Ceremony

STEPHENS COUNTY, OK (KSWO)-Victims of crime and their families gathered on the steps of the Stephens County Courthouse on Thursday. It was for the seventh annual Victim's Rights Awareness Ceremony put on by the District Attorney's Office.

"A lot of people ask us how we get up each day and go on," said Angela Wiles, mother of crime victim. "It's so we could get out and spread the word of Alyssa's story. So, we can get out and spread awareness of victims' rights."

Wiles spoke about her daughter Alyssa who was murdered by her boyfriend in their home five years ago.

She said the ceremony reminded her of the changes that need to be made.

"Anytime we can speak to the public and give them Alyssa's story, tell them what happens to us, tell them how the judicial system needs to be fixed, explain that there are laws and bills coming into works that they need to vote yes to," said Wiles.

One of those is Marsy's Law which could potentially elevate crime victims' rights in the state constitution, for example increasing the levels of notification.

Wiles and District Attorney Jason Hicks are also working on a piece of a legislation to ensure perpetrators who are under 18 when the commit a violent crime to stay in prison.

"We are looking forward to a day where victims will walk into a courtroom and feel like they actually have a voice and that their voice is going to be heard," said Hicks.

As for Wiles, she sends a message to those who think they may never be in a situation like hers.

"Pay attention to your children," said Wiles. "We thought we were great parents we watched who she hung out with and when she hung out with them and how she hung out with them. But I just want to let you know that this could happen to you."

National Crime Victims' Rights Week is observed the second week of April.

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