AVON — Family members of murder victim Angel Vincent walked out of a prayer vigil Sunday evening at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church after her uncle became angry that the vigil’s prayers were in opposition to the death penalty.
Angel was raped, kidnapped and murdered in 1988 by Darryl Durr, who is scheduled to be executed for the crime Tuesday. She was 16 years old at the time.
Her uncle, 52-year-old Richard Rodriguez, who said Angel lived with his family for a short time, angrily confronted the vigil’s organizers, Daniel Briehl and Barb Hornbeck, when the vigil included prayers against the death penalty and prayers for Durr’s soul in addition to prayers for victims of violence.
“Do you even know what you’re saying?” Rodriguez said as the other seven family members with him and a childhood friend and her father got up and walked out.
Outside, Rodriguez further expressed his anger.
“They care more about him than they care about Angel,” he said. “I believe in the Bible. That’s something the country’s getting away from. It’s supposed to be what we’re governed by in our lives. The 10 Commandments, an eye for an eye ... the Old Testament and the New Testament, and even the church doesn’t believe it anymore.”
Briehl, a board member of the Catholic Action Commission of Lorain County, said his religious beliefs preclude supporting the death penalty.
“We pray for the perpetrator and the victim as well as the families, too,” he said. “This is not our first (vigil), and it won’t be the last one because Ohio seems to think the death penalty is the thing to do.”
Hornbeck said she cannot support an “eye for an eye” philosophy.
“We’re using the same method that he used, and that was wrong so this is wrong,” she said. “I don’t condone the state using my money to kill people. It’s against my religious beliefs.” Julie Boschetti, 37, of Elyria, said she was best friends with Angel as a child and was at the vigil to “be a voice” for her friend, despite the prayers for Durr.
“What happened is not right nor is it fair that this man is still here,” she said, adding she believes Durr should have been put to death years ago.
The prayer vigil literature mentions victims and their families, but mentioned Durr by name, something else that bothered Angel’s family.
“(Durr) is a monster,” said Angel’s Aunt, 51-year-old Sharon Brewer of Vermilion. “He won’t even admit what he did wrong. I’m looking forward to seeing the end. I just want people to remember Angel and not feel sorry for Darryl.”
The family plans to attend Durr’s execution and was not swayed by the vigil’s anti-death penalty agenda.
“This execution is way overdue,” said Angel’s Uncle, 60year-old Wes Brewer of Vermilion. “I’m damn glad we’re going.” Biehl, Hornbeck and Adrian Griffin, the Northern Ohio Organizer for “Ohioans to Stop Executions,” quietly finished the prayer vigil.
The confrontation was the first Hornbeek or Briehl had ever experienced during one of their vigils. They both said they understood the reaction by Angel’s family.
“They need our prayers and this is one way to support them and I know they don’t see that right now,” Hornbeck said. “Your heart just goes out to them. ... I do believe, however, that all people have a basic right to be alive, and the only one who can take that away is God.”
Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.