TCADP works in partnership with Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation to reach out to the family and friends of murder victims who oppose the death penalty. MVFR is a national organization composed of family members of victims of both homicide and executions who oppose the death penalty in all cases.
Voices of Experience: Joyce Washington
Leveria Washington, Jr. – known as Rockwell to his family and friends – was a well-liked person who loved all sports, recalls his mother, Joyce Washington. He was a star player on his high school’s football team in Tyler, Texas, where he was called the “Rock of Gibraltar.”
After high school, Leveria moved back to Dallas, where he attended Paul Quinn College for two years. He wanted to pledge Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Leveria also attended ITT Business School for a while before landing a job at UPS.
On July 9, 1991, Leveria had spent a relaxing day with friends at an apartment in Lewisville, drinking beer and playing a pick-up game of basketball. For unknown reasons, though, a fight broke out later that night between Leveria and a high school friend who was visiting from Tyler.
Leveria went downstairs to the apartment where his girlfriend lived, but she would not let him in. In the meantime, the friend grabbed a gun from his car. When Leveria returned to the apartment where the fight occurred, the friend shot him multiple times as he crawled down the hallway. He was 21 years old, the father of a young daughter.
Joyce says that the man who killed her son received only a 10-year probated sentence, which felt like a “slap in the face” to her. Despite her frustrations with the criminal justice system, however, she has never believed in the death penalty. “Putting the guy who murdered my son to death is not going to ease my pain or bring my son back.”
“I don’t believe in the death penalty. It is such a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
– Joyce Washington, mother of Leveria “Rockwell” Washington, Jr.
As the surviving mother of a murder victim, Joyce says she needed to be able to talk to someone weeks and months after the funeral, when all her friends and family members had gone their separate ways and she was left with the loneliness and sadness and hurt to deal with.
“We [victims’ family members] need to know where to get help, support, and counseling for a long as needed, to have access to someone we can reach out to and talk to anytime, one-on-one if necessary. At the time I did not feel I got the help that may be available today,” she explains.
“My son wanted the American dream – work, love, and happiness – and he was willing to work for it. He was gone too soon,” Joyce says. “His siblings and I still miss him and hurt at his passing. This is a process and it takes time, but it never heals, it just gets to where you can cope with it.”
Voices of Experience
Read these Voices of Texas, featuring the powerful stories of individuals whose loved ones were murdered. These profiles were developed by Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation.
Steve Bishop Download PDF – English and Spanish
Chris Castillo Download PDF – English and Spanish
Helene Burns Download PDF – English and Spanish
Jan Brown Download PDF – English and Spanish
Joanna Rankin Download PDF – English and Spanish
Joy Strickland Download PDF – English and Spanish
Linda White Download PDF – English and Spanish
Ron Carlson Download PDF – English
Elizabeth Stein Download PDF – English
Diane Allen Download PDF – English
Joe Walker Download PDF – English
Lily Gernale Download PDF – English
Stanley Allridge Download PDF – English
Juan & Martha Cortera Download PDF – English
Agnes Fernandes Download PDF – English
Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation Annual Conference
Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation will host their 2016 Annual Conference on Friday, October 21st and Saturday, October 22nd. The conference will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport (5265 International Blvd., North Charleston, SC 29418). This year’s theme will be “MVFR at 40: Still Caring, Connecting, and Collaborating to End the Death Penalty.” To learn more about the conference and registration, please visit http://www.mvfr.org/mvfr_2016_annual_confer.