Crime - Sacto 911

Yolo County crime victims honored at emotional ceremony

As tears stream down the face of Felicia Leivo, center, a survivor of domestic violence, she waves to thank attendees who applauded her bravery for testifying against her offender during the annual tribute to crime victims hosted by the Yolo County District Attorney's office Monday at the Woodland Opera House in Woodland. Joining her, from left, were District Attorney Jeff Reisig, victim advocate Silvia Aceves and prosecutor Diane Ortiz. Other award winners were Sarah Cassidy, Olga Sanchez and Lawrence Partida. The 2015 Hero of the year award went to John Laben.
As tears stream down the face of Felicia Leivo, center, a survivor of domestic violence, she waves to thank attendees who applauded her bravery for testifying against her offender during the annual tribute to crime victims hosted by the Yolo County District Attorney's office Monday at the Woodland Opera House in Woodland. Joining her, from left, were District Attorney Jeff Reisig, victim advocate Silvia Aceves and prosecutor Diane Ortiz. Other award winners were Sarah Cassidy, Olga Sanchez and Lawrence Partida. The 2015 Hero of the year award went to John Laben. rbyer@sacbee.com

One couple was asleep in their bedroom when the unthinkable happened. Another man had just celebrated his birthday when he was brutally beaten by a stranger in a hateful rage. A woman, battered and bruised by her boyfriend, mustered up the courage to tell authorities what happened, then dug into a deeper reserve to take the witness stand at his trial.

All were crime victims in Yolo County whose lives ended or were irrevocably changed by violence or trauma. They or their family members were recognized Monday in Woodland by the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office and its victims’ services program.

They received plaques and were honored for their courage in facing “tragic and heartbreaking events.”

Monday was exactly the type of bright, warm, spring day that Claudia Maupin lived for, said her eldest daughter, Victoria Hurd, the event’s keynote speaker.

“My mother would’ve loved this day. She came alive in the springtime,” Hurd said during the ceremony, held at the city’s historic opera house.

Two years ago last week, Daniel Marsh, then 15 years old, broke into the Davis condominium that Maupin, a local church official, shared with her husband, attorney and musician Oliver “Chip” Northup. Marsh attacked, tortured and killed the sleeping pair in their bedroom in a case so savage, prosecutors branded the teen an “evil soul.”

Hurd’s sister, then police, discovered their bodies. Maupin was 76, Northup 87. Marsh, convicted by a Yolo County jury in December, is serving a 52-years-to-life sentence in the killings.

“My whole life changed in the moments and hours that followed” her sister’s phone call, Hurd said. Stunned by the sudden horror, Hurd could neither eat nor sleep for days. But trauma counselors and the Yolo County Victim Services Program helped pave a way forward, she said.

“There are people and there are resources here to help you. I am not alone. I have all the resources I need to heal,” Hurd told the audience.

The Yolo County program provides victims’ advocates who sit with, counsel and support families impacted by crime, including the often lengthy and painful trial process, said county Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven.

“We’re trying to be there for them when they’re in the lowest of lows,” Raven said. “If we can help them, we’re successful. ... Our victims’ advocates do a tremendous job of that.”

Lawrence Partida, on his way home from a house party in Davis, had just celebrated his 33rd birthday March 10, 2013, when he was brutally beaten in the early-morning hours by Clayton Garzon of Davis. Partida spent two weeks in a Sacramento hospital recovering from the attack.

Garzon is serving a five-year sentence in the Yolo County jail, which will be followed by mandatory supervision for two years four months.

After the ceremony Monday, Partida spoke of his recovery and the support he received from prosecutors and victims’ services staffers during his attacker’s trial.

“They took the time to help me. I felt like they really cared about what we wanted,” Partida said.

He suffers from post-traumatic stress, one of the lingering effects of the beating, but tries to have positive thoughts. He starts each day with a ritual: “I have to breathe, meditate a little,” he said. Sometimes a song helps.

“It’s always going to be a struggle. It’s hard, but not as hard as it was.”

Felicia Leivo said she “felt a little lighter” Monday after years of bearing physical and mental abuse at the hands of a violent boyfriend. Leivo testified during the trial against the boyfriend, who was sentenced to prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Through the support of victims’ advocates, Leivo finally has found a measure of redemption.

“It hurt me inside – my pride. He made me feel like I was trash,” Leivo said. Now, “I don’t feel like I should be ashamed of myself.”

Then, she added with a small smile, “I’m still here.”

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

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