COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Unfortunately Columbus is no stranger to domestic violence.
Tuesday marked two years since 18-year-old Destinee Virgin was shot in killed in broad daylight on a major roadway while running away from her boyfriend who police said was shooting at her.
For two years, Mechelle Virgin has lived without her daughter, whose life was taken by someone who claimed to love her. Now, Mechelle Virgin is a domestic violence advocate, saying love should not hurt. She’s even sharing her story with a filmmaker to raise awareness about domestic violence.
“Destinee knew better, but she tried to change someone who did not want to be changed. He did not love her. She loved him and he loved her to death," Mechelle Virgin said.
Two years to the day after Destinee Virgin’s murder, her mother is remembering the red flags.
“Doing the simple things like doing her hair, she didn’t want to do any of those things. She stopped getting her nails done, she wasn’t taking care of herself anymore. She just felt low, depressed,” Mechelle Virgin said.
Michelle Virgin said the system failed her daughter repeatedly, allowing Markel Ervin to be released on bond time and time again until police say he ultimately shot and killed Destinee Virgin in the middle of Macon Road traffic.
“Seeing Destinee Virgin, Deann Champion-King, Mariah Farrow, Jerrica Spellman, those could have easily been my mother, sister, auntie," said filmmaker and Columbus native Jacobe Love.
Love is using his passion as an artist to spark a conversation. He’s using his experience and that of those who lost their lives.
“I grew up hearing about my mom being punched in the face by my dad. I grew up hearing about my aunt being slammed up against the wall or having to pull out a knife to protect herself," Love said.
His film, called “A Dangerous Silence,” focuses on the impact domestic violence leaves. Mechelle Virgin is one of the family members sharing her story, as hard as it may be, to save a life.
“I didn’t think it would be my child, so who’s to say it couldn’t be someone else’s?" said Mechelle Virgin.
One issue both Mechelle Virgin and Love are focusing on is fixing the system because there are signs, and violent offenders are being given so many chances. The goal is to create change starting at home.
Ervin’s attorney said the case is indicted, ready to go to trial, and waiting on courts to resume criminal trials. The case is expected to be the second case in line when courts are fully functional again.