Crime Victims, Governor Brown Attend Capitol Rally

Crime victims met with Governor Jerry Brown at the Capitol on Thursday for the 27th Annual Crime Victims' Rights Rally.  After listening to the governor's remarks to the crowd Rebecca Gapusan with Victims of Violent Crimes of San Joaquin County said the rally is all about "justice."

Gapusan noted that her family became victims of violent crime when her niece was murdered 15 years ago.  The body was found wrapped in a blanket floating in the delta three months later, but the case remains unsolved despite a $50,000 reward being offered for information.  "In Stockton we have a lot of unsolved (crimes)," said an emotional Gapusan. "

Photo by Joe Michaels, KFBK

Mostly all of these people (at the rally) they're all unsolved, some going back 35 years."Gapusan has been coming to the Capitol for 15 years to participate in the Crime Victims' Rallys.  "I'll be doing it until the day I die."  Asked what justice means to her, Gapusan said, "(it's) seeing the person that took our loved one away be punished for it, so they can't be with their family."

Others at the rally said the people who were there support one another.  "We know we can reach out to each other," said Darlene Berendt of Stockton.  Her daughter, who was 21 at the time of her murder in 2002, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up being shot in a drive-by.  "They're the people who now how we feel, the people who help us get through each and every day."  Gapusan calls Berendt and other victims "family."

Berendt said, "I believe justice needs to happen, so other people don't feel like us.  If they've done it to our loved ones they are going to do it someone else's loved one."

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