'I Have To Think It's A Mistake'

'I Have To Think It's A Mistake'
SEATTLE - Families of murder victims say they are getting victimized once again. First, a State Supreme court ruling that is letting killers go free and now proposed cuts that will take money away from victim's families.

Even after 13-years, Winona and Earl Latta ache every day at the loss of their pregnant daughter, Sheila.

Sheila's ex-boyfriend, Thomas Humphries, got 33-years for killing and dismembering her. But now he might get out after a State Supreme Court decision that ruled murder charges can not be brought against someone who didn't intend to kill.

"They want to let a guy who murdered and mutilated my daughter, who was six months pregnant with my granddaughter, out on a ruling," said Winona.

Now comes another blow for families. President Bush's proposed budget would eliminate the Victims Crime Fund -- more than a billion dollars that helps pay for counseling, medical bills, and advocates to walk families through the court system.

"The loss of this funding will devastate those who are already devastated. I have to think it's a mistake," said Snohomish Chief Criminal Prosecutor, Mark Roe.

Our state's largest victim's advocacy group, Friends and Families of Violent Crime Victims, would be hit hardest. More than 60 percent of its money comes from the feds. The group could be forced to shut down after 30 years.

"This organization helps people face the rest of their life. I can't tell you how critical and vital these people who provide the support to our community are," said Bill Burkheimer, whose daughter Rachel was murdered.

Today he joined other grieving families, cops and prosecutors hoping send the president their message.

With murders going free, victims funds are needed more than ever.

"A billion dollar cut is a drop in the bucket in the national budget. For victims, it's all they have," said Roe.