MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile police, victims’ families and city leaders joined together Friday morning to mark national crime victims’ rights week.
Nija Hill, who lost her son in September of 2021, walked with police, as they raised awareness for victims’ rights, protections and services.
“I’m still trying to learn how to live without my son,” said Hill.
Her son, 16-year-old Chavan Scruggs, was shot and killed on Allison Street last September. A 15-year-old was arrested for the crime.
“Just ask that we stop this gun violence. It’s just senseless. It’s just senseless I lost my 16-year-old son,” said Hill.
Hill said she’s already frustrated with the process to get justice for her son.
“I’m very upset the process is taking two to three years. I have a problem with that. I have a problem with them being able to make a bond,” said Hill.
She’s urging people to come forward. That message, in line with what the Mobile County District Attorney said after a Mobile man charged in a high-profile shooting, reached a plea deal, cutting down his time behind bars.
Deangelo Parnell pleaded guilty to three counts of attempted murder for the 2019 shootings at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Nine people were injured when shots were fired at a high school football game. He received a 20-year split sentence, but he’ll serve five years. He’ll get credit for the two and a half years he’s already served, meaning he’ll be released in 2024.
The Mobile County District Attorney was frustrated at the outcome of that case.
The Mobile Police Department agrees that they need more cooperation from witnesses and victims, and for them to come forward.
“Typically in situations where there are plea agreements, it’s because of lack of victim or witness cooperation. It’s important to know we’re happy with any positive result we get,” said Mobile Police Cheif Paul Prine.
“However, we also want the community to know, though, when witnesses are willing to come forward, victims are willing to stand there in the gap and proceed through that process, we do get heavier sentences which ultimately deters crime down the road.”
Hill wants to make sure no other parent has to deal with the pain she has experienced.
“It could very well be your loved one that can lose their life that day. You need to speak up,” said Hill.