There were three homicides in North Alabama this past weekend.
One of the most recent homicides in our region was in Huntsville. One Huntsville mother knows the feeling of losing someone to a homicide all too well.
Donna Howell lost her soon at the hands of gun violence seven years ago, but the emotions are still raw. She calls losing her son to a homicide her worst nightmare.
Now, she wants to see changes in the judicial system.
"Losing your child is the hardest thing you will ever have to do, but I think even harder is losing your child and no one stepping up for justice," said Howell.
Larry Flaccamio was shot and killed in his neighborhood. It's something Howell struggles with each and every day.
"It was just natural for me to say, get up, and then I looked into his eyes and his eyes always danced with mischief, and there was just a blank stare and you see that every night," said Howell.
A number of families in North Alabama are grappling with a similar loss.
"They call us survivors but we're victims," said Howell.
Howell said oftentimes, homicides are being overlooked.
"What I want to see are some laws being changed, the victims being treated more like a victim, rather than just being pushed aside," said Howell.
Howell recommends talking to someone if you're struggling after losing a loved one to homicide. The Homicide Survivors Program is a resource for individuals as they start their grieving process.
Director Kim Crawford said she has seen an increase in homicide cases this year.
"They've certainly gone up this year," said Crawford. "Madison County, Morgan County, they've certainly been in the spotlight in the past few months."
Howell said you never fully heal when you lose a child, but there are ways to remember your loved ones.
Howell created the "Larry Flaccamio Foundation," in her son's honor. The foundation is designed to help kids and murder victims' families. The night Flaccamio passed, Howell said her son shared his goals of creating a similar foundation. Now, Howell is making sure his dreams live on.
Sept. 25 is National Remembrance Day of murder victims. Howell said she will line her fence with flags for Huntsville homicide victims.