THE FIELD: First at Damas crime scene
Behind the lens
THE FIELD: Reporting from Haiti
Behind the notebook
BOOKMARK DAMAS SECTION
NAPLES — They want to honor the victims.
So the Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Collier County is setting up a candlelight vigil for tonight to honor Guerline Dieu Damas and her five children, along with other victims and survivors of domestic violence.
The event is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. on the steps of the Collier County Courthouse in East Naples as part of the organization’s 2009 National Domestic Violence Awareness Month campaign.
The vigil will officially kick off the campaign, said Mary Ann Green, spokeswoman for the shelter.
“This vigil is truly a call to action -- asking each of us to join the solution to ending violence in our homes, neighborhoods, schools and communities,” Linda Oberhaus, executive director of the shelter, said in a prepared statement.
The event will feature several speakers, including Oberhaus, Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Marco Island Police Chief Thom Carr and Dan Cavanaugh from the State Attorney’s Office. Others expected to attend are representatives of the Naples police department, shelter staff and concerned individuals from across Collier County.
As plans are made for the vigil, Mesac Damas, 33, the man accused of killing his family, remained in the medical housing area of the Collier County jail on Friday afternoon.
He is accused of first-degree murder in the deaths of his wife, Guerline Dieu Damas, 32, and their children Meshach “Zack” Damas, 9; Maven, 6; Marven, 5; Megan, 3, and Morgan, 19 months.
The Sheriff’s Office confirmed Friday that Damas wouldn’t be able to go to his family’s funeral next weekend.
Collier County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Michelle Batten said Friday there is no estimate of when the sheriff’s investigation would be finished and that completing it would be a long process. Once completed, it would be turned over to the State Attorney’s Office, which would decide on empaneling a grand jury to bring the formal charges.
Thursday’s vigil will start the shelter’s National Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities, which include the following:
**Purple Light Nights, which will light up the night with purple bulbs in October to help raise awareness about domestic violence.
**Healing Arts & Clothesline Project, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays throughout October beginning Oct. 2. Go to the Options Thrift Shoppe, 968 Second Ave. N., Naples, and purchase art, jewelry and collectibles that were donated to support shelter life-transforming programs and services through at the Healing Arts display and share in stories of family violence victims as part of the Clothesline Project.
**Hands Are for Helping, Not for Hitting, 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 10, County Public Library, Headquarters Branch, 2385 Orange Blossom Drive. Pre-kindergarten children learn, through interactive play, how to deal with their emotions in healthy ways. Contact the library to sign up, starting Monday.
**Strut Your Mutt, 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24, Germain BMW, North Naples. Join the shelter for this Halloween pet event hosted by The Humane Society, Naples. It is to feature pet costume contests complete with prizes, local pet-related vendors and more. Information: The Humane Society, Naples at 643-1880.
**Children’s March on Main, Monday, Oct. 26, 3 p.m. Community Fair, 6 p.m. The Shelter’s Immokalee Outreach Office is hosting a children’s fair followed by a police-escorted Children’s March on Main Street in Immokalee to help raise awareness about domestic violence and its impact on children. Information: 657-5700.
DAMAS FAMILY KILLINGS COVERAGE
ONE YEAR LATER:
- Year after slayings of Guerline Damas, five kids, relatives ask ‘did it really, really happen?’
- Confessed killer Mesac Damas wants to die, so should court system let him?
- Damas family slayings: Year later, still haunting lives of friends, family, deputies
- Jail phone call: Accused killer Mesac Damas talks to father about his slain family, Satan and adultery
MESAC DAMAS CONFESSION VIDEO:
DAILY NEWS STAFF JOURNALISTS TALK ABOUT THE CASE:
- THE FIELD: Naples Daily News staff writer describes how he obtained an interview with Mesac Damas
- THE FIELD: Visual Journalist Greg Kahn discusses being the first journalist at the Damas crime scene, and other observations from the field.
- THE FIELD: Staff Writer Steven Beardsley answers questions about his interview with Mesac Damas