By Carly O'Keefe
MARION, IL (KFVS) - Angela Hopkins has only pictures to remember her 21-year-old daughter's lovely smile, and a 15 second recording on a Christmas ornament to remember the sound of Falon Taylor's voice.
"It's distorted, but it's saying ‘I want you to be happy in love with me/I want you to feel that my love is real/ and if you love me I will never let you go'," Hopkins said. "She had a beautiful voice."
Hopkins has never let her daughter go. Taylor was shot and killed as she slept inside a home on Carbondale's Oak Street on January 6, 2007. Since then, Hopkins has held tight to the hope that whoever killed Taylor would be brought to justice, and she says she's long had a hunch 24-year-old Elijah Lacy was somehow involved in her daughter's death.
"We've talked over the phone, and I pleaded with him to just tell the truth. And he refused. So I told him this day was coming, and I said I was going to face him in court," said Hopkins.
On Sunday, prosecutors charged Lacy with first-degree murder. Court documents allege he acted with another person to commit robbery, during which Taylor was shot with a handgun. Lacy's first court appearance Tuesday offered Hopkins some sense of closure, but it also brought even more sadness as Lacy was at one time a close family friend.
"I've known him since he was a little boy. This was no stranger to us. I knew who to expect walking through that door. It's bittersweet because he was a friend and I've lost my daughter and he played a big role in it," said Hopkins.
Police expect to make more arrests in Taylor's murder. Hopkins says she plans to be there every step of the way--to stand up for her daughter against those who ended her life.
"Nobody wins in this situation, because Falon's gone and nothing's gonna bring her back. Our family, what we have to look forward to now is to see that justice is going to be served because it was a senseless act and it wrecked a lot of people's lives," Hopkins said.