Friends, family remember nurse slain in domestic incident

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC-TV) - Eight months after a Mississippi nurse was shot and killed by her estranged boyfriend in her work parking lot, loved one said they hope she did not die in vain.

"Some days are sad, some days are happy days," said Evette Porter.

Through tears, Evette and Jemeca Porter shared the story of their best friend, Taffy Crawford.

"I cried today, but it was tears of joy knowing it's not just us that love her, everybody loves her," said Jemeca Crawford.  "To see the support."

Crawford sang in the choir at New Fellowship Christian Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi.  Her estranged boyfriend, former firefighter Frank Graham, is charged with her first degree murder.

Families and friends shared memories of Crawford's life.

"We wanted them to light a candle in her honor," said Evette Porter.

Crawford's former co-workers said she had not even finished orientation before Graham shot her in the Delta Medical parking lot last February.

"Domestic violence is everybody's business," said Jemeca Porter.  "It's not a secret to be kept."

A YWCA spokeswoman told the congregation there are 70,000 domestic violence incidents a year in Shelby County.  Only one in 7,000 is reported.

When Crawford's son, Braden, lit a candle for his mother, the congregation jumped to its feet.

"He talks about how she put her makeup on or how she wanted this type of car or what she was doing for him," said Evette Porter.

Jemeca Porter said signs of domestic violence may be subtle.

"When you shy away from your family and you don't want to spend time with your family anymore, flags kind of raise," she said.

Crawford's loved ones released 35 balloons into the air to represent her 35 years of life.

The Mid-South YWCA has a 27-bed facility that offers shelter to domestic violence victims, including children.  Call 901-725-4277 for more information.

Frank Graham's next court date is not set.  He claimed Crawford stumbled and the gun went off, but defense attorneys said Graham went to two locations to track her down after she had lunch with another man.

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