2 years later, murder victim's family holds vigil, awaits justice

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The family of Tracy Williams is still waiting for justice two years after her murder.

Michelle Williams stood in the middle of family and friends wearing a T-shirt with her sister's image. She held up her cell phone and turned up the volume as loud as it would go as tears streamed down her face.

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The message she was playing for the crowd was from her sister, Tracy Williams.

"In case anything happens to me I want you guys to play it for me because this is how I'm feeling right now," instructed Tracy in the video message. She went on to sing "What God Has For Me."

Her family said she recorded that July 24, 2015.

Two days later, Tracy was gunned down in a grocery store parking lot. Authorities arrested her ex-boyfriend, Gary Yarborough.

RELATED: Franklin County murder suspect has history of arrests

Authorities and family would soon confirm a history of documented domestic violence in the relationship, going back at least a year.

"She followed the law," Michelle Williams said. "I feel the system let her down."

RELATED: Victim's family says system failed her

Two years later, the family is still waiting for justice.

On Wednesday evening they gathered again to mark the day they lost Tracy.

They wore T-shirts with her photo, they wore purple for domestic violence and they released balloons into the air. They said they also gather to call attention to the need for better protection for people battling domestic violence.


Earlier this month, Gov. Roy Cooper signed into law a bill that advocates and law enforcement officials said they believe will bolster protective orders. House Bill 343 is a measure that will allow domestic-violence protective orders granted by a judge to take full effect even when under appeal.

When it comes to protective orders, Tracy had multiple ones against Yarborough.

"It's a piece of paper, in essence," said DeShonda Wimbish, Tracy's sister, "Until they get the offender off the street and the victim in a safe space, she or he is never really safe.

"She sought help in every avenue, our family sought help in every avenue," Wimbish added.

Tracy's family said they're not sure what a better law would look like, but they want protection to come with action and not just in paperwork.

In the meantime, they said they know Tracy's story has made a difference.

"We've had a number of women reach out to the family to say that without hearing her story, they would have never looked for help," Wimbish said.

The family has taken some comfort in that but said they hope real healing will begin once justice is served. A court date has not yet been set in the case against Yarborough.

"I feel like once we get past the court part of it, maybe we can heal a little bit better," said Catherine Williams, Tracy's mother. "Right now, it's still fresh."
Related Topics:
vigilmurderdomestic violencefranklin county newsFranklinton
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