After her daughter was stalked and murdered by her ex-boyfriend and boss in 2011, Tina Gregg was never notified when the man charged with her daughter's murder left the state. Instead, she found out on Facebook. Her daughter, Brooke Morris, was a vibrant young woman and a loving mother to her 3-year-old son. Her family honors her legacy by sharing her story and fighting for victims' rights in Tennessee.
Can you describe what it was like for you as a crime victim in the Tennessee court system?
The people of Roane County were very good and respectful to me and my family. However, we had a judge that I didn't care for at the time. Everything that the DA's office asked for was denied, such as an ankle monitor, making him move because he lived within 3 miles of my older daughter, and letting him leave the state when he was told he could not. He was also giving his parents their $250,000 bond back when he didn't show up for his parole officer. So, I guess you could say with our first judge, it was a nightmare. Smoot [the accused] had seven lawyers at the first, which I think is unrealistic, especially since he did not pay for it.
What did you find to be the most frustrating aspect?
I guess you could say my whole ordeal was extremely frustrating. Every time we went to court, he fired his lawyer, so then we would have to start all over with the new one, which set us back even further. Sometimes I went to court thinking we would have a date, only to be told when I got there that it was rescheduled. It took me 5 years of court appearances and total frustration to finally get justice for my daughter. With Marsy's Law, the judge would have to let the victims know when he decides to let someone leave the state; which should have been enforced the first time! This was very hurtful to me and totally harmful.
How do you believe Marsy’s Law for Tennessee will most help crime victims in the state?
Going through something like this will change everything in you. I'm not the person I used to be before I lost Brooke, and I will never be the same. I am definitely for stronger laws. We, as victims, need people to understand our rights. The perpetrator is handled with kid gloves and this infuriates me.
Do you have any words of encouragement for other crime victims?
As for encouragement for other crime victims, I would have to say, ask many questions, and never quit fighting. It will be a long, hard, drawn-out fight; you will probably be tempted to give up, but don't! Your loved one deserves justice and so do you.