Earlier this month marked the 20-year anniversary of a domestic violence shooting at the King County Courthouse that claimed the lives of three women and an unborn baby. Each year, a candlelight vigil is held to remember Susana Remerata Blackwell and her unborn child, Baby Kristine, and her friends, Phoebe Dizon and Veronica Laureta, who were murdered by Susana’s estranged and abusive husband inside the King County Courthouse. The annual event is sponsored APIChaya at the King County Courthouse to remember all lives lost to domestic violence.
The 1995 shooting led to the development of APIChaya, an organization dedicated to helping Asian women and families experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. This year’s vigil was organized by Phoebe’s son, Derek Dizon, who now works at APIChaya. He said it was a great honor to organize this year’s vigil, an event so close to his heart and memory. Derek’s mother was at the courthouse on March 2, 1995, along with Veronica Laureta, to support their friend Susana who was going through a divorce from the defendant Timothy Blackwell. Derek said the idea behind APIChaya is to support a friend in need.
King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who spoke at the vigil earlier this month, said the shooting led to many changes, including courthouse security. “I’ll never forget coming down to the second floor right after the shooting and seeing the tragic aftermath of the domestic violence that intruded upon the Courthouse that day,” he recalled. “Over the past two decades we have been reminded of this tragedy each time we walk into the Courthouse, through the metal detectors which were installed as a direct result of this crime, and past the memorial plaque commemorating the lives of the victims,” he added.
Timothy Blackwell was convicted of Aggravated Murder and is serving a life sentence.