Mothers Make a Difference After Losing Their Kids

One year ago yesterday, a young woman named Vivian Wofe and her fiance, both 22, were shot and killed in Aurora, Colorado. Unfortunately, there is nothing remarkable about that. The young man, named Marshall Fields, was cooperating with prosecutors at the time as a witness in another shooting, one that had occured a year before that, and law enforcement officials believe that Fields was killed for being a snitch. Unfortunately, there is nothing terribly remarkable about that, either, in this age where gangs still are able on occasion to dispense their own brand of justice. What is remarkable is what happened next.

The mothers of the young couple, Rhonda Fields and Christine Wolfe, decided to do something with their overwhelming grief. According to a good Javier Erik Olvera piece in today's Rocky Mountain News, the pair "have spent the better part of the year fighting for a law that would train officials how to spot cases where someone's life could be in danger and offer witness protection." The result? New legislation in Colorado, effective July 1st, that renames the existing witness protection program in honor of Wolfe and Fields and "requires district attorney offices and law enforcement agencies across the state to provide education and risk assessment on witness protection to proseuctors, victim advocates and law enforcement officials."

Three other young people have been charged with the murders of Wolfe and Fields. Thanks to the courage and doggedness of the victims' kin, witnesses in this new murder case will likely be a lot safer than witnesses were a year ago. It's a great story of individuals making an important and positive difference in the lives of others.

By Andrew Cohen |  June 21, 2006; 10:00 PM ET
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