Murder victim remembered at vigil

Published 10:57 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Among her many attributes, Tanisha “Piggy” Freeman was remembered last Thursday as “a good mom, a hard-working woman and always up for challenges.”

That was from Lisa Freeman, who attended the inaugural candlelight vigil in memory of her daughter, who was found murdered a year ago on Nov. 21. The Tidewater News reported that the Southampton County Sheriff’s Department had gotten a call that morning about of a possible homicide at the Stevens Woods apartment complex on Oak Trail in Courtland. Tanisha, who was 25 years old at the time, was found dead from an apparent stabbing.

The investigation led deputies to the suspect, who turned out not to be a stranger, but instead the father of the two children he had with the victim. Maj. Gene Drewery, spokesman for the Southampton County Sheriff’s office, indicated the incident appeared to be the result of a domestic dispute.

Bobby Boone Jr., who was 30 years old then, was arrested and charged with murder. His jury trial is scheduled to begin on Monday, Dec. 11.

The service, which took place that evening at Barrett’s Landing gazebo, was organized by members of the Genieve Shelter, an area sanctuary for abused and battered spouses and children. Among the staff were program director Tashaunna Hilton and legal advocate Rebecca Gary, who also serves as a crisis intervention specialist.

Hilton said the shelter wanted to do a service like this last year, but then felt it was too soon after the crime. Gary added that the program was organized two months ago.

Lisa, who is taking care of the children, said she had been approached about having the vigil, of which she hoped it would give some sense of closure.

“We need all the support we can get,” said Lisa, who later asked the same of the audience that gathered that evening.

Mayor Frank Rabil thanked everyone for participating in this “meaningful, but somber occasion,” and referred to the killing as one that “shocked the community.”

He continued, “Every person in this community, men and women, young and old, has the right to live free of violence. We need to break this cycle of [domestic] violence, and we will. Victims must know of the resources available to them.”

Angela Artis, who serves on the board of directors, called on the audience that if they know of someone who is in an abusive relationship, to encourage the victim to seek help. She called on the community to “be there to support them through their transition.

“It’s lonely when you have to leave home. Genieve Shelter is there with that support,” said Artis.

She extended her advice to high school girls who are dating that “love doesn’t hurt. When you know better, you do better.”