Victims of crimes honored at ceremony in Kanawha Co., WV - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Victims of crimes honored at ceremony in Kanawha Co., WV

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For some, the angel tree lighting ceremony is a yearly reminder. For some, the angel tree lighting ceremony is a yearly reminder.
CHARLESTON, WV -

The Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office hosted its third annual ceremony Thursday, Dec. 12, to honor crime victims.

Dozens of people crowded the lobby of the county building in Charleston, WV. For some, the angel tree lighting ceremony is a yearly reminder.

"This is Jeanie's favorite holiday. So this is very nice to have for everyone," said Karen Mance, the sister of a murder victim.

In 2003, a series of sniper-style shootings claimed the lives of three people in Kanawha County, WV, including Mance's sister, Jeanie Patton, 31.

A judge sentenced Shawn Lester to a maximum 40 years in prison in 2012. Lester pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Patton's death. As part of a plea agreement, charges surrounding the deaths of Gary Carrier, Jr. and Okey Meadows, Jr. were dropped.

"It's sad so many people are without their loved ones here because someone decided to take them," Mance said.

Each family placed an angel on the tree. The ornaments represents the lives taken too soon.

For many, this is a Christmas of firsts. The Taylor family came to celebrate a son, a brother, and a friend.

Donovan Taylor, 29, was murdered in Rand on Valentine's Day. Investigators said they found his body inside a Nissan Altima on Emory Avenue.

"This is going to be the first one he's not around," said his mother, Cynthia Taylor. "He was joyful. He loved the holidays, he loved it."

The St. Francis of Assisi Children's Choir performed during the event. A brief reception followed the ceremony.