Vigils for Victims' Rights Held Hours After Killer's Parole - NBC Chicago

Vigils for Victims' Rights Held Hours After Killer's Parole

Justin Boulay served 12 years for killing his estranged girlfriend while in college



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    Fighting back tears, roughly 200 people gathered in Batavia on Tuesday evening with candles, hugs and memories of a woman who was killed by her estranged boyfriend while they were both still in college more than a dozen years ago.

    Andrea Will, was a freshman at Eastern Illinois University when her estranged boyfriend, Justin Boulay, strangled her with a telephone cord at his off-campus home.

    Boulay opted for a bench trial, was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison. After serving just 12 years and with consideration for good behavior, he was paroled.  His release prompted outrage and spawned victims'-rights vigils across the United States, including one in Europe and another in Canada.

    "My child is gone, but her spirit lives on in family, friends and all those burning candles in her memory," Will's mother, Patty Rosenberg, told those gathered.  

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    Boulay will soon head to Hawaii, where he'll live on another college campus with his new wife, an assistant professor he married two years ago.

    For Will's friends, it's a slap in the face.

    "I know life's about second chances, but it's just not fair," said family friend Gayle Kastor. 

    "Someone who was convicted of first-degree murder of my child served 12-and-a-half years. I don't see the justice in that," Rosenberg added.

    Many of those in attendance Tuesday evening wore purple ribbons in an effort to raise awareness of domestic violence. Will's mother said she hopes every flickering candle will provide hope.

    "May the light shine on the suffering to give them strength, courage and the support needed to be a survivor and not a victim," she said.