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Families, police honor murder victims

Attendees hold candles during the Annual Candlelight Vigil

Attendees hold candles during the Annual Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Homicide in Jericho. (April 22, 2012) Credit: Ed Betz

Lauren Robin can't help but cry when she thinks of all the milestones she could have shared with her older sister Nicole had her life not been cut short nearly five years ago.

Nicole Robin was murdered Oct. 21, 2007, just five days before her 30th birthday, Lauren Robin said.

She was shot in the head three times while sitting in a car in Flushing, Queens. Her assailant has never been caught.

"You never come to terms with it," said Robin, 31, of Little Neck, who now lives in Philadelphia. "Death is hard. But when someone is murdered like a dog in the street. You never come to terms with that."

Robin was one of more than 200 relatives and friends of homicide victims in Nassau and Suffolk counties who gathered at a candlelight vigil in Jericho Sunday in honor of their loved ones and to support each other.

A list of 632 victims was read as family members stood up to light candles in their honor at the Milleridge Inn's cottage.

Christine Baumgardt, chairwoman of the Long Island Chapter of Parents and Other Survivors of Murdered Victims, said the vigil allows families to honor their loved ones at least once a year. Baumgardt is also one of the organizers of the event and a survivor.

Her husband Julius, an armored-car guard, was shot and killed during an ambush outside a Muttontown office building on June 23, 1994.

Christian Tarantino, of Dix Hills, was convicted last year and faces two life sentences in that killing as well as that of his partner in the robbery, Louis Dorval, 30, of Elmont and East Meadow.

Tarantino is expected to go on trial today in a separate killing.

"Nobody knows what we go through," said Baumgardt, who added that joining the group helped give her a sense that she was not alone in her suffering.

At the vigil, some participants sat quietly holding lit candles while others shed quiet tears remembering victims.

Leaders of homicide squads in Nassau and Suffolk were on hand.

Suffolk County Homicide Chief Lt. Jack Fitzpatrick attended with about four members of the squad. Once a case becomes a homicide, detectives from the squad work with the families of victims daily.

"Those are the folks you're really there for," Fitzpatrick said of the survivors.

Nassau Detective Lt. John Azzata took part with about a dozen members of the homicide squad.

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