Community honors children lost in homicides

Group gathers for 17th anniversary

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Seventeen years ago, family members of children lost in homicides gathered at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville to remember and honor their loved ones.

The group continued its tradition Monday night. Each year there are more pictures added to those who were taken too soon.

Toni Pesavnto joined the group Monday night to celebrate a life he said was taken away too soon.

"[I joined] to celebrate my daughter's life, because I don't want to ever forget her," said Pesavnto.

Linda Sluder said she lost her daughter Kelsey Sluder this past year.

"I think this is very important. Really happy they do this," said Sluder. "Great job putting out markers and they've contacted me several times since Kelsey passed away," she said.

The memorial service was started by Glenn Mitchell, who lost his son Jeff in a random act of violence.

"While it's grown, I wish it was not growing. We're adding 13 new names this year," said Mitchell.

Mitchell's case is unique because he's become close with Ellis Curry, one of the men charged in his son's death. Curry was there the day Jeff was shot and killed in a botched robbery. Mitchell and Curry now regularly speak publicly with young people together to share their story of forgiveness.

Channel 4 Crime Analyst Ken Jefferson knows both men. He said it's extraordinary that an ex-convict and victim's family can connect.

"Since that time, since his release, he and Glenn Mitchell have forged a relationship to help young people not go done that same path," said Jefferson.

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