Murder victim touched the lives of many - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Murder victim touched the lives of many

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By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - People at the Albany Rescue Mission are still in shock over the death of 88-year-old Mabel Berry. They can't imagine such a violent death of a woman they came to love, especially at the hands of one of the many people she helped.

Monday night, mission leaders wrapped up one of the meetings they have daily inside the chapel on North Monroe. It's hard for them to grasp the fact that a woman who taught many bible classes inside that same chapel is forever silenced.

"I mean, she's an elderly woman," said Cat King outside the chapel Monday night. King just couldn't believe her ears when she heard the news.

"They couldn't be talking about the same person I knew and then it just hit me," said King. It hit her hard that Mabel Berry, the woman who helped her get through tough times, was violently killed in her home.

"She tried to help everybody. She really tried to help everybody she could," said King.

Berry helped King throughout the year she spent at the Albany Rescue Mission. She's been on her own for a year now but she's never forgotten. "I still remember Miss Berry. I sure do," said King.

She could never imagine Miss Berry would die the way she did. "To sit there and beat the woman, to sit there and beat her. That's the wrong way to go for a woman who had so much love," said King.

"Nobody should really have to die that way yet alone an 88-year-old woman," said Brother Larry Hample with the Albany Rescue Mission.

Inside the Albany Rescue Mission chapel Wednesday night, Hample talked to more of the people who Berry had contact with. It's hitting everyone hard. "Been here twenty years and we've had things happen but nothing like that and it just doesn't make any sense," said Hample.

As Hample tries to make sense of it all, he can only think of one thing that could lead Tiffany Wise to do it--drugs. "She went somewhere and she got loaded up and wanted money. You don't plan a robbery on an 88-year-old woman that you know unless you're desperate," said Hample.

Hample just hopes the actions of one person doesn't cause a bad light to be shed on the many who seek help at the mission. "I'm sure that people would say they may as well shut down. For as many stories like that, there are success stories and lives being put back together, families being put back together," said Hample.

Berry helped King put her life back together. "Yeah, she'll stick with me. Even though I'm not in the shelter anymore, she'll stick with me," said King. People hope to remember her for how she lived, not how she died.

The sad event also served as a wakeup call for people at the Albany Rescue Mission. Brother Hample says they've been pretty lax when it comes to security and things like handling money. Wednesday night, they laid out a list of new rules to make sure people stay safe.

The Albany Rescue Mission plans to memorialize Berry at a service Wednesday evening when other missionaries will be there.

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