The mother of “Demonde Donya “D.J” Dicks Jr. looked among the crowd in front of the Government Center Saturday, called the names of three men convicted in his June 15, 2016 shooting death at Double Churches Road Park and delivered a message.
“They won’t take another thing from me,” Shelia Foye of Atlanta said to more than 220 survivors of crime victims . Foye was guest speaker for the 2018 National Crime Victims’ Right Week Memorial Service where the names of 72 crime victims were called, including 22 law enforcement officers.
Foye’s message was for Derain Waller, Jacquawn Clark and A’keveius Powell, all sentenced to prison terms ranging from 20 years to life without or with parole in the death of the 24-year-old Dicks. He was shot in the back of the head and robbed of his backpack with cash at the basketball courts.
Their sentences gave her freedom, she said after the program. “I thank God for that freedom,” she said. “My family is a family of believers and a family of faith. Although we wish D.J. were here, we could see God’s hand throughout this case.”
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Foye said the event is important to anyone who has lost a loved one to violence because it’s hard to keep a memory alive. “It feels good to get together with other people who can understand or somewhat understand,” she said. “It makes you feel the people you lost were important.”
During her words to the survivors, Foye wore a necklace Dicks gave her for Christmas when he was 10-years-old . It was a time when he was in love with his mother, she said.
“He asked me to take him to Walmart,” she recalled. “He bought it with his own money.”
She encourage relatives of crime victims to call the names of loved ones lost to violence. “I love and miss my son,” she said.
Many relatives wore T-shirts with pictures and thoughts of their loved ones on them. At the end of the service, relatives were able to write the names of their loved ones on an ornament and place it on a tree.
The memorial service was sponsored by the Victim-Witness Assistance Program for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. Shelly Hall, director of the program, said she wanted all the survivors to know their loved ones had meaning and they will never be forgotten.
“I’ve never been in the presence of so much pain but yet so much love,” Hall said.