Local News

Vigil Held For North Raleigh Murder Victim

Posted July 2, 2002

— Family and friends of a woman murdered in her north Raleigh apartment gathered for a vigil Sunday.

The Interfaith Alliance of Wake County organized the gathering at the Bridgeport Apartments in an effort to help heal emotional wounds and to show Stephanie Bennett's family the deep desire to find the 23-year-old's killer.

Bennett's father, Carmon, was at the vigil with a message for her killer.

"To the person who killed my daughter, I want to know Stephanie's last words. Did she say anything that would comfort the members of her family? Did she pray? You took my daughter, please give me some peace in knowing these things. We will not quit searching until our questions are answered," he said.

Police released a composite of a suspicious man seen around the apartment complex around the time of Bennett's murder.

While they have received lots of tips, police said so far, none of the leads are significant.

Residents of the apartment complex where the murder took place are still on edge, as are others around the city, about the fact that a killer has not been caught.

So how can you keep yourself and your family safe from intruders?

Motion sensitive lights are a big deterrent, according to Raleigh's crime prevention community relations unit.

The unit helps residents evaluate the security around their homes.

Rusty Clark pointed out to roommates Adrian Vann and Tammy Starling problems with security in their townhouse.

Problems like a tall bush blocking a window.

"One of their favorite entry points is a window, and what they can do is they can easily stand behind a bush like this and no one else can see them," Clark said.

The women have a double cylinder dead bolt on their front door. Clark said the lock may only be as good as the screws that hold in the latch plate.

"The bigger the screw, the better. Right now, they used a fairly small decorative screw," he said.

Clark said it takes very little pressure to break through door chains. Instead, he suggests lockable storm doors and windows with double locks -- one high and one low -- that stay locked.

The back porch gate is another landscaping issue and a hiding place for trouble.

"And if you're walking at nighttime, whatever happens is going to happen very quickly. You're not going to see who's coming through," Clark said.

Darkness is a bigger safety issue.

"There's not a lot of lights. In fact, I don't see any lights behind this building," he said.

The roommates said they will bring the bigger safety issues to the attention of their homeowner's association. A few other problems they will fix themselves.

Clark said alarm systems are fine, but they can become quite expensive. He suggested addressing the simple issues first, the ones that are easily fixed.


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