LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Every year, it’s a somber tradition. A crowd gathers inside the Warren County Supreme Court chamber, to remember cases heard there – and, more importantly, those cases’ victims.
Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone led the county’s annual Crime Victim Memorial Ceremony on Monday morning, highlighting some high-profile cases around Warren County from recent years. He commended the victims who have survived crashes, attacks and abuse – and mourned those who had not.
“We need to have attention on the victims of crime; it has to be a focus,” Carusone said. “You’re called a victim for a reason, and some of the ways this is discussed now is in terms of ‘survivors’ rather than victims. I like that, but not everyone gets to be a survivor – because some victims lose their lives.”
The theme of this year’s ceremony was “Elevate, Engage, and Effect Change.” Victims lost and surviving alike were spoken of and honored at the ceremony. An outdoor memorial on Warren County Municipal Center grounds features bricks etched with the names of some of those honored by the county, with new and notable names added every year.
Five new bricks were added this year. Some of those include Tammy Moody, a domestic violence victim who has since passed away; Raymond Bohmer, who survived being shot three times during an assault in his home; and Mia Jimenez-White, an 11-year-old girl who Carusone honored for bravery while testifying in court. Jimenez-White led the ceremony in the pledge of allegiance and was awarded the county’s 2023 Courage Award – and a big stuffed lion, to boot.
“Mia’s been in a courtroom before – a couple of times,” said Carusone. “She had to testify at trial, and face the person who was her victimizer. She did it, and she did it again at sentencing. Most of us, adults in this room, could only imagine doing that as an adult. She did it.”
Two more names immortalized on bricks: Kerry O’Reilly and Matthew Huff. The two were victims of a fatal crash in 2021 in Chestertown. Dennies Ford, of Saranac Lake, hit a vehicle driven by Lauren Huff, of Boston.
Huff had been pursuing the achievement of hiking all 46 Adirondack high peaks, and was on her way from her final hike. She chose to invite her brother, Matthew, and her friend Kerry O’Reilly, along with her. The three were on their way home when they encountered Ford, driving the wrong way on the Northway – and later found to be under the influence of alcohol at the time. Lauren Huff would wake up in hospital care, days later, to receive the news.
Members of several EMS and rescue squads came up to the podium to receive commendations from the county. Shy Watters spoke on behalf of the Warren-Washington Counties CARE Center, which provides forensic interview services for children involved in crimes. Kevin Geraghty, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, declared the week of April 23-29 as Crime Victims Week, and added a personal anecdote, reminding the room how close tragedy could be at any time.
“Several years ago, my stepdaughter was shot in Ohio, during a robbery – for $2.17. I can tell you that it has affected our family deeply, and so it means a lot to us to be here,” Geraghty said. “I wish we didn’t have to do this. I wish there didn’t have to be a Crime Victims Week. But I know what you all have gone through, and I thank you.”