COLUMBIA, S.C. (WJBF) — A South Carolina group is calling attention to victims of violent crime. They say there are too many barriers to getting help in the Palmetto State.
“The system is designed for accused criminals or high profile victims. I left broken, and without even an apology,” Deloris Boyce shared.
Her son, Damion Green, was killed a week before his senior year in college in 2015.
“It was daylight. So this was supposed to be open and shut, however it was anything but,” she said. “From day one to this point, SLED had no new evidence, and no physical evidence was ever found. Everything was exactly the same from 2015 to 2019,” she added.
NewsChannel 6 spoke with her in 2019 about an anonymous message she received about her son’s murder. Two arrests were made. She went to multiple bond hearings.
“I felt as if my rights were violated,” she recalled. “One of the defendants was allowed out on bond, and it wasn’t until I investigated and notified the prosecutor that he committed a crime in Casey, South Carolina and was a fugitive there.”
Boyce said it took state investigators and the solicitor’s office more than four years to call to notify her family warrants would be issued.
“In the midst of the case going to trial, it was declared a mistrial. And after that, we were called back in to say that the case will be dismissed,” she recalled. “Dismissed totally due to the fact that the system allowed two eyewitnesses to die several years apart.”
Boyce was left with many questions. “Why didn’t an arrest happen earlier? I’ll tell you what they were doing. Nothing but my family and myself continued working. Damion’s case judges were asking for bond hearings. Why did it take so long to make an arrest? Or why is it taking so long to bring this case to trial?”
Hundreds of people joined her and her family at a rally at the statehouse to turn pain into purpose. The South Carolina Victim Assistance Network put on the event. The group raises awareness and advocates for crime victims.
“This rally was something that was much needed,” aunt of Damion Green Doris Jamison said. “We need to bring awareness to the fact of how victim families are being treated in reference to sled, in reference to the these judges and how important it was that families should be able to speak, they should have rights,” she added.
Others also shared their stories, including Karl Stoller, whose daughter, Dallas, died from a self-inflicted injury following a sexual assault in 2018.
“I watched as a sitting South Carolina state senator stood in a courtroom in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, publicly shamed this young lady,” Karl Stoller recalled. “I watched the Deputy Solicitor of the Second Judicial Circuit drop my daughter’s case because she was no longer here to face her attacker. Lastly, in April of 2022, I watched a circuit court judge allow this defendant to walk away with a five-year probationary sentence for assault and battery, first-degree, no sex offender registry, and an ability to have his record fully expunged once he completed the terms of his probation.”
Legislators took part in the program, including Representative Joe White. He introduced a bill to have the governor appoint six members to select judges.
“Victims will never be treated fairly by any bill passed to help victims until judges are selected properly, and they are fair judges,” Rep. Joe White said.
“It is my prayer that there needs to be no bond for accused murderers. And also when these murder trials come to court, that there are someone, a mutual party, that’s able to sit in on these trials and make sure that victims are getting what they deserve,” Boyce added.
We also followed Boyce as she went to the office of her local lawmaker.
“In all honesty, he was in a committee meeting. But what I feel is they do need to make themselves more available to us, especially when events like this is coming. This was a huge crowd here at the State House for the Victims Matter Rally, and we needed to see and hear, and I will never stop,” Boyce said.
Meanwhile, she says she will continue fighting for justice she feels not only her son and grandson deserve but others, too.
“My job now is there’s going to be some mother family member come behind me who may not have the faith that I have to make it through this type of situation,” she said. “I need to be there. That’s my calling to be there for a mother and let her know, don’t give up on this fight.”