Two Colleton County residents were among those honored during the 23rd annual Silent Witness Ceremony that was held Oct. 6 on the south steps of the State House in Columbia.
Jorday Nelson, 29 of Hope Plantation Road, Jacksonboro, died July 27, 2019, from a single gunshot wound to the head. She was found unresponsive in the bedroom of her home. A 39-year-old Jacksonboro man was charged with murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime in her death. His court case is still pending, according to the 14th Judicial Circuit’s website.
The second victim was Ida Mays, 47, of Cottageville. She died Oct. 15, 2019, of a gunshot wound to the back. A 46-year-old Cottageville man was charged with murder and possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime in her death. His case is also still listed as pending.
During this year’s virtual ceremony, Attorney General Alan Wilson called the names of 36 women and six men from across the state who lost their lives as the result of domestic violence in 2019.
Volunteers held life-sized silhouettes representing victims as they stood on the State House steps. A bell was rung for each victim as their name was read aloud. An additional 43rd silhouette represented the potential unknown victims.
“It is important that we commemorate the lives of those lost to domestic violence to both honor the victims and shed light on this terrible crime,” said Wilson.
“We must recognize that we are contending with a cycle of violence in our state,” said Wilson. “When an individual is victimized, others are often witnesses to the violence, including children. We need to continue to try to prevent domestic violence while also best positioning law enforcement and prosecutors to hold perpetrators accountable.”
During the ceremony, Wilson said that South Carolina, for the first time in two decades, was not reported in the top 10 states for men killing women. South Carolina ranked 11th in the latest national report.