In Remembrance of Marsy

When someone has been lost in tragic circumstances, it is the details of their death which become the focus of those recounting their life. Such is the case with Marsalee (Marsy) Ann Nicholas, who became a victim of homicide at twenty-one years old. As the namesake of Marsy’s Law, it is understandable that many would seek to learn the details of how Marsy came to be the name and face of the national effort for equal rights for crime victims. Today she should be turning 56 years old. The focus will not be on how she died but how Marsy lived. She has continued to be a light in the darkness for many across the country.

On March 6, 1962, Marsy was born to Marcella Nicholas Leach in Ohio. She had one brother, Henry, who was three years older than her and with whom she was naturally very close. It wasn’t long before Marsy, her brother and their mother moved to California. As she grew into a young woman, Marsy discovered her love for horses. She was a champion rider, beautiful and smart. Upon graduation she attended the University of California Santa Barbara and had nearly completed her college education when her life was taken. She was dearly loved by those around her, a love that continues to reflect today long after her death thirty-five years ago.

It is that love which guided her family to spend their lives working for change in the criminal justice system. While many only know Marsy as a name and a face, she was so much more than that. She was a daughter, a sister, a friend, a student – as are so many who are lost to violence every day. As we work towards equal rights for all victims of crime, Marsy reminds us that the stories of these lives must be told. And we are honored to start with her’s as it lights the way for others to be heard and remembered as they should be.