LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – When Pat and John Byron think of their daughter Mary, they remember her as a happy person. John Byron says he remembers her as she was, not who she would be today.
Mary Byron was murdered outside JC Penney at the Mall St. Matthews on her 21st birthday. She was shot to death in her car.
The man who killed her, Donovan Harris, is up for parole next week, and Mary's parents will do everything they can to keep him in prison.
Pat Byron says she wants them to know he took something precious to them that can’t be returned. John Byron says he is a dangerous person and doesn’t want him to hurt someone else.
Mary Bryon knew her killer, and so did her parents. He was a former boyfriend who had kidnapped and raped her. The Byron's thought he was still in jail.
Her murder revealed big gaps in the system.
Marcia Roth helped bridge that gap. She worked for then Mayor Dave Armstrong.
One year after Mary's death VINE became a reality in Jefferson County. Victim Information Notification Every Day is now used in 48 states, and it all started here.
Kentucky would also sign on, and the Byron's would find themselves on a national stage. They couldn't save Mary, but they could try and save other victims of domestic violence. They’ve heard many stories about how VINE has saved lives.
Pat Byron says if she had crawled in a hole she would have lost her purpose.
That purpose also turned into the Mary Byron Project, awarding more than a million dollars to innovative programs to end domestic violence.
Marcia Roth says when you look at John and Pat Byron, and what they’ve been through, they can’t be discounted.
They are a force, and the voice for their daughter and others.
Next week, Pat Byron will speak up again before the parole board
to keep her daughter's murderer in prison.
The young woman who shied away from the spotlight is now a light for others, thanks to her parents and their work with domestic violence.
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