Mother of murdered man, "Victims Services changed my life"

TYLER (KYTX) - Being a victim of a violent crime or losing a loved one to violence, means you bear a burden.

Most people don't know about a department within the District Attorney's Office created specifically to help lift this burden. It's called the Crime Victims Services Department. 


"Brandon was a good boy. He just finally got his life together," his mother, Cindy Beam, says.

His sister Stephanie Malone says, "Brandon was a very loving, outgoing person and I don't want anyone to forget that."

Brandon Lee was 24 years old when he was murdered. It was December 2009 when 22-year-old Joshua Barnes stabbed Lee to death after an argument at a party.

"It's been four years and I still cry over it. I do. That was my child," Beam says.

She feels the pain like it was yesterday, and remembers the person who helped her manage that pain.

Sherry Magness with the DA's Office Crime Victim Services called Brandon's mother after the murder and told her all the things she could help her with.

"They paid a big chunk of my son's funeral and if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have known. We would have been lost," Beam says.

Before Brandon's death, Beam didn't even know there was a state fund to help crime victims pay for things like funerals or counseling. The services didn't stop there.

"They fill out the applications and paperwork so that's one less thing you have to deal with," Malone says.

Sherry went with the family to every court hearing for Brandon's killer.
"Had our tissues and sat with us the whole time!" Beam says.

District Attorney Matt Bingham consulted with the family when deciding on Barnes' 45 year sentence after he pleaded guilty. 

The department even added Brandon's name to a monument in the downtown Tyler square honoring victims of violent crimes. 

Their pain may never go away, but both Beam and Malone know, without Victim's Services, they would have never made it this far. 

"They're like our family now. I feel that way. They have taken us in and just done a lot for us," Beam says.

A life changing service, that will never be forgotten.

If you'd like to learn more about the Smith County District Attorney's Office victims services, you can call this number: (903) 590-1742.







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