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Dear Tom,

My sister Demetria is the single mother of a 20-year old daughter named Jalynn.  She also speaks & teaches sign language at her church where she is the founder of the “unity dancers for Jesus” and each month – and they perform at area nursing homes.

She used to work in a hospital but she suffered an “on the job injury” in the year 2000 that left her paralyzed from the waist down.  She was unable to work until she was fully rehabbed in 2006.  Now, and for the past 9 years, she is a social worker for the mentally challenged.

On March 18th, 2012, her 26-year-old daughter Dashondra was murdered.  She had graduated from high school in 2003 and attended Lamar University.  She was shot in the head at close range killing her and her unborn child.  Her boyfriend Israel was shot 5 times – 4 in the back.

The murder was all over the news – the killer came forward and confessed.  Last month after 2 long years, the murderer was sentenced on May 8th – 20 years for the manslaughter of my niece & her unborn child and 70 years for the murder of her boyfriend. However, the jury found him not guilty of capital murder.

After the murder, my sister took immediate custody of her daughter’s children – Dashawn is now 8 & Jamiah is 5. They are now her primary focus as she struggles to raise her grandbabies.