In search of solace, families of murder victims find comfort from city and support groups

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn., (WKRN) – In a nondescript room in Nashville there are women who share stories – mothers who share grief.

Because of the pandemic, they haven’t been able to meet face to face. So the gatherings are new, but the pain isn’t. “There’s something about being in person that helps us out a lot.” 

“It’s really been hard on us because of all the senseless murder that has still been going on, just this year,” said Clemmie Greenlee. 

Greenlee started Mothers Over Murder when her son was a victim 17 years ago. She has since provided this space for women, like her, as the city they call home confronts another wave of violent crime. 

“What do it do for you when they roll that bed in there, and it’s a 20 something, 15, 12 something year-old black male that’s rolling in front of you just bloody and shot everywhere?” asked Greenlee. “It’s our duty, job, and healing space to make sure that we continue this for mothers.” 

Families of murder victims have long found comfort in each other. In Nashville, the annual Season to Remember event invites people to honor loved ones lost to homicide by hanging ornaments on a tree. For 2020, it will look different. There will be less time together and more social distancing – blame that on a year that’s already taken so much. 

 “There are cases I definitely take home and cases, that for whatever, reason you just feel super connected to,” said Mackenzie Britt.  

Britt leads the victim witness services program for the District Attorney in Nashville. They’re first in line. Many times Britt and her colleagues meet victims when devastating loss initially sets in. 

“We hope victims have a better view of the criminal justice system because we’re there for them,” she said. 

Britt talks about the grief she faces with families, thrust into criminal proceedings.  She provides resources, emotional support, and even companionship. 

“Sometimes, to be there physically to hold their hand, or just hold their hand throughout the process and let them know they have somebody on their side, that’s not going anywhere.” 

The pain is real. There’s no coming back from murder. But, as a city struggles to contain its crime, its victims do and always will have a place to turn.   

Nashville’s homicide rate is up year to year. News 2 investigates the deadly trend and what’s being done about it in a special series, Murder in Music City.

Click here to read more.

News 2 is digging deeper into Tennessee’s most notorious unsolved cases.

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