Crime victims meet with GA Parole Board - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Crime victims meet with GA Parole Board

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

Crime victims are meeting with the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles here in South Georgia.

It's Victims Visitor's Day in Valdosta, a time when victims and their families can get information on prisoners who committed crimes against them. They can also voice their concerns to the board.

It was an emotional day for some victims, having to bring up the past and talk to the Parole Board about the person who victimized them.

"I live with looking at that image of him standing there getting ready to shoot me with a gun, and that is the last thing I've ever seen that was clear to me, because I'm now legally blind and all I see is images and everything in here is fuzzy and distorted," said victim Josephine Lonon.

Josephine Lonon survived after being shot four times by her ex boyfriend and father of two of her children. In February 2010, Roy Smith tried to kill her and her daughter. Today she asked the Parole Board never to allow her attacker out of prison.

"I wanted to make sure that they understand that they're dealing with a man who has no feelings, that they're dealing with somebody that was sentenced to all those years for a reason," said Lonon.

Over 60 victims talked with the Parole Board one-on-one about crimes ranging anywhere from armed robbery to murder.

A ceremony kicked off the Victims Visitor's Day with over 100 people from law enforcement agencies, parole officers, and families supporting victims.

"Today is another opportunity for them to articulate how they feel their personal safety may be in jeopardy if this offender is released, as the parole board we take that into account with every vote we cast," said Albert Murray, Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles Chairman.

The Chairman of the Board says sometimes people forget about the victims and their suffering.

"It's possible that if we didn't have days like this, perhaps victims wouldn't be granted the sensitivity, the patience, and attention they need," said Murray.

Lennon's offender is sentenced to prison until 2070 and will not be eligible for parole.

The Pardons and Paroles Board holds at least two Victims Visitor's Day a year around the state.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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