, Muskogee, OK

September 25, 2013

Families, friends honor those slain

Mother: Day of Remembrance offers comfort

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Staff Writer

— It’s been 30 years since Darlene LaCrone’s father was murdered in a robbery at his store.

LaCrone said although the case has officially gone cold, her feelings for her father haven’t.

“When someone is murdered, we can’t just file it away,” LaCrone said. “Everything in our life changes.”

LaCrone was joined by over 100 others on Tuesday night for Muskogee’s sixth annual Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims, held at the Indian Capital Technology Center. The event was coordinated with the National Day of Remembrance that takes place today, honoring the life of 19-year-old Lisa Hollinger, who was murdered Sept. 25, 1978.

Pamela Stonebarger, who organized the event six years ago, lost her son Jonathan Scott Cannon to homicide in 2004. She said the group’s gathering is “comforting.”

“You never think it will happen to you,” Stonebarger said. “It always happens to someone else. I didn’t have anyone to reach out to, and I felt like it was important for us to all get together. We live with it every single day of our lives.”

Stonebarger also said it is unfortunate, but the group grows larger every year.

“In the past I made fliers with pictures of the victims on them,” she said. “I can’t do that now, there are too many. This is one group we don’t like to see grow, but it does. We all have this in common, and people realize they don’t have to walk this road by themselves, so that’s comforting.”

Guest speakers at the event included Carol Steward, who runs Cold Case Revivers, Michael Webber, the pastor of Divine Love Church and District Attorney Larry Moore. Each spoke comforting words to the families and implored them to remember their loved ones.

Moore said the group had a unique ability when they gathered.

“Right now you’re gathered together with people who know exactly how you feel,” Moore said. “For tonight you can lay down your armor and just be yourselves. You know there are other people in the room who feel just like you do.”

Moore also praised the Muskogee Police Department for their presence at the ceremony.

“They don’t get paid any more to be here,” he said. “And they don’t get paid more for solving a murder. But they care enough to be here tonight.”

Webber said he found peace and comfort in God.

“I don’t understand a lot that we go through,” Webber said. “But I do know and understand that God is good. On thing that never dies is His love. Look at this audience right now and you can see that love has crossed every barrier.”

Webber also encouraged the audience to let go of any anger they might be harboring.

“Every minute we spend in anger is 60 seconds we could have had so much happiness,” he said. “We all need peace about what has happened in our lives. That peace comes from the fact that everything is all right; God is in control.”

Reach Travis Sloat at (918) 684-2908 or