Murder Victims Honored with Vigil and Memorial Display - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Murder Victims Honored with Vigil and Memorial Display

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Murder Victims vigil held in Spokane Public Works building Murder Victims vigil held in Spokane Public Works building

In observance of the “National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims”, the Spokane County Victim/Witness Unit held a vigil on Thursday,in the Public Works Building.

Since 1951, the Victim/Witness Unit has documented 658 murders, vehicular homicides, and unsolved violent crimes throughout Spokane County. While a few of these cases occurred in other areas, the victims' families are located here and all too often, they are still struggling to cope with the murder of a loved one. Families like the Clark family. They lost their daughter in 2008.

On February 28, 2008, Justin Crenshaw murdered Sarah Clark and Tanner Pehl two weeks after arriving in Spokane from Las Vegas. Crenshaw had planned to turn his life after being a heroin addict. He reunited with his sister, who lived in Spokane and was close friends with Sarah Clark. Crenshaw met Pehl after getting hired at a north Spokane restaurant.

On the night of February 28, Crenshaw, Pehl and Clark were drinking at the home where Pehl lived with his mother. Investigators aren't sure what happened next, but believe Crenshaw killed Clark because she wouldn't have sex with him. He killed Pehl, when the Pehl came into a room to investigate Clark's screams.

Clark was stabbed 26 times before her body was posed with a Samurai sword positioned at her nearly severed head. Pehl was stabbed more than a dozen times before a blanket was placed over his dead body and a broadsword was plunged through his abdomen four times before it lodged in his spine.

Investigators believe Crenshaw found the swords while ransacking the Pehl home after the murders.

Investigators believe Crenshaw then set fire to the home. Firefighters responded to the house fire, and had no idea there were two dead teens inside.

2 1/2 years after the murders, the 22-year-old Crenshaw learned his fate: life in prison, no parole.

On Thursday, Sarah Clark's father spoke at the vigil. Steve Clark said, "my wife and I come every year. It's been 6 years since our daughter was murdered. We come because there are people who have gone through a very similar experience."

To remember those who lost their lives to a violent crime, they also collected shoes for a special memorial display. The county says each pair of shoes will represent a murder victim and, in a small way, you are able to “put yourself in their shoes” by honoring them. The Spokane County Victim/Witness Unit collected more than 500 pairs of shoes.

From boots to booties, wing-tips to flip-flops, every pair of shoes that they receive will be included in the murder victim memorial that will be located next to the Law Enforcement Memorial on the County Courthouse campus on Friday, September 26th.

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