CITIZENS AGAINST HOMICIDE FIRST ANNUAL VICTIM AWARENESS CONFERENCE-
IN MEMORY OF YVETTE NANCE
We were so pleased to introduce one of our expert speakers, MR. JONATHAN RAVEN.
Jonathan Raven is the Chief Deputy at the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office (Woodland, California), an office with approximately 33 prosecutors. He received his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1991 after graduating with honors from the University of California Santa Barbara in 1986. He worked as a civil attorney for four years before being sworn in as a Deputy District Attorney in Yolo County in 1995. As a felony trial deputy, Raven prosecuted all types of cases ranging from DUIs to child molest to homicide.
In 2001, Raven was appointed to the Child Exploitation Task force, a collaborative group dealing with issues concerning child molest and abuse compri
sed of the US Attorneys Office, the FBI, the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department, the Sacramento High Tech Task Force and regional District Attorneys’ offices. He is an adjunct professor at UC Davis King Hall School of Law and a trainer of law enforcement agencies for the Museum of Tolerance. Additionally, he has been on the faculty of California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST). He is currently Board President of the Yolo County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer appointed Raven Director of the Office of Victims’ Services (OVS) in September 2002. OVS advocates on behalf of crime victims, interfaces and works with law enforcement, and works on policy and legislative issues pertaining to crime victims’ issues. During that time, he was on the grounds at San Quentin State Prison for three executions, one of which did not occur due to 11th hour appeals.
In February 2007, newly elected Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig appointed Raven his Assistant Chief Deputy. In November 2010, Reisig appointed Raven to the Chief Deputy position, the #2 position in the office. Raven manages a number of divisions (including Victim Services, Intake/Charging, the Lifer Unit, Consumer Fraud and Environmental Protection and the Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center). But, he still is able to try cases (he recently successfully tried a murder case).
Jonathan’s conference presentation focused on the multifaceted subject of the death penalty. He was accompanied by the Yolo County District Attorney, Jeff Reisig, Judge James Ardaiz, who prosecuted the first murder trial of Clarence Ray Allen and Tricia Schletewitz, sister of a Clarence Ray Allen victim.
CAH was also proud to introduce ANGIE GILLAM AND CHERRY SIMPSON as two of our conference presenters, who addressed Domestic Violence.
ANGIE GILLAM – The worst possible heartbreak a mother could ever endure occurred on February 20, 2007. Angie Gillam’s 29-year-old daughter, Jennifer Alyson Bushnell, was brutally and senselessly murdered, without provocation, by her boyfriend at a local gas station outside of Lodi, California. The murderer, David Bernel, was captured by surveillance cameras gunning down Jennifer. He then fled to Mexico, where he was arrested weeks later and return to California for trial. He was found guilty of First Degree Murder and sentenced to 80 Years to Life.
Angie did not remain idle after Jennifer’s murder. She had a message to share and desire to reach out to others. She joined Citizens Against Homicide and, in 2011, became a CAH Victim Advocate. In 2010, she, along with two other mothers of murdered daughters, participated in an educational documentary on domestic violence titled, “LOVE YOU TO DEATH”. The video has been distributed to all high schools in the San Joaquin County area, free of charge, and is now part of the teaching curriculum.
CHERRY SIMPSON – After learning that her daughter was a victim of spousal abuse, a mother fights to help her escape and navigate the trials and legal battles. Cherry started out by speaking out for victims – through conversations with politicians, a blog and radio interviews. She is now the Co-Executive Director of the National Domestic Violence Registry.
In 2009, tragedy struck again when her beloved niece, Lacey Gaines was murdered just 6 days after her 20th birthday. Cherry was devoted to Lacey and took it upon herself to run a campaign for justice for her, A website was created: LaceyGaines.com. Cherry is currently serving as President of the Support for Homicide Survivors in Illinois.
The day ended with an elegant gourmet banquet and our very special celebrity guest speaker. We were so proud and very honored to have Mr. Bill Cosby close our conference with his words of wisdom and infectious humor. He has been an American icon through the generations and understands the grief of losing a loved one to homicide. We will forever be grateful for his motivational and encouraging words!
The conference was an amazing experience seeing old friends and acquiring new acquaintances!