Vikki Vargas, Lori Bentley, Kevin Dahlgren
Dominic Fournier, 8, was in a crowd of hundreds, crimes victims and their families. Dominic’s family say they brought him to the rally to help him process his mother’s murder six months ago at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach. Vikki Vargas reports from Santa Ana for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on April 27, 2012.
Some walk with pain, others with pride knowing they have survived a beating, a rape, an attempted murder and moved on.
Dominic Fournier, 8, was in the crowd. He went to his mother's funeral just six months ago. Ever since, he's been surrounded by relatives, who believed that Friday's march and rally could help him heal.
Michele Fournier was one of eight people killed last October, when a gunman opened fire inside Salon Meritage. It was the worst mass killing in Orange County history.
It's a club they say they didn't choose to join. Hundreds of victims and their families marked Friday with a ceremonial walk, designed to turn them from victims into survivors.
In their midst is Alisa, formerly known as Jane Doe. She was sexually assaulted by Greg Haidl (Pictured below) and two others a decade ago when she was 16-years-old.
"It took walking with the devil and going to the depths of hell to know I had a choice," Alisa told the crowd.
Her attack with a pool cue and cigarettes was videotaped by her assailants.
“I came to a point where I got so low and so down, and I had absolutely no self-esteem, and almost at a point where I just wanted to die,” Alisa told NBC4 before before she was set to address a crowd of hundreds on Friday, during the fourth annual Victims’ Rights March & Rally in Santa Ana.
She hopes to inspire others, by encouraging them to be strong and letting them know that “they, too, can be survivors.”
She's a criminal justice major and victim rights advocate who hopes to inspire others.
In 2005, the Haidl case was tried twice. The first jury initially was unable to decide if Haidl, the son of an Orange County assistant sheriff was guilty or innocent in the 2002 attack.
He was eventually convicted and sentenced to six years in prison and along with Keith Spann and Kyle Nachreiner, all three are now registered sex offenders.
“I feel they should have done more time but not everybody gets to prosecute their perpetrators,” Alisa said.
Shortly after the convictions, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas applauded Alisa for her resolve, saying he didn’t know “how many adult professionals could have endured the multiple days of the most personal and insulting cross examinations and arguments that were presented” at trial.
“(She) was so traumatized by what had happened during the first trial that she broke down in the parking lot at the second trial,” he said. “I am not sure where she found her resolve, her courage. But Jane Doe wiped her tears and gathered herself and told her story from the witness box the best way she could.
“And because she stood up to them, she stood up for everyone.”