Providence mourns murder victims at vigil
By Abigail Allen
Community members surrounded the family of April Robinson and Donavan Fielder, the two people who were murdered on Oct. 14 in Providence Village, for a candlelight vigil Sunday evening.
In attendance were April’s mother Connie Robinson, her sister Theresa Robinson, her brother Timothy Robinson, her cousin Sandra Tester and additional family members who traveled from Kentucky to mourn the mother and son and to attempt to reunite with April’s three young girls.
“I just want to thank everybody for coming out here for my daughter and for my grandson,” Connie said to the crowd with Theresa at her side. “God, this is—I never thought this would happen. But I appreciate what all y’all are doing.”
The two were murdered in an escalated domestic violence situation, Aubrey Police Department said.
April’s boyfriend, Cory Washington, allegedly admitted to their murders in his call to report their deaths.
Theresa said she was glad the community was gathering to honor her sister and nephew’s lives.
Members of the Providence Village Church organized the vigil. Pastor JT Riley spoke to the group.
“While this is an unbelievably tragic event, one of the wonderful things about Providence Village is that we gather around one another, we help one another, and I am so thankful and blessed that we live in a community where we rally around one another in times of trouble, in times of hurt, in times of pain,” he said.
He also read from scripture and talked about the ability people have to empathize with others around them.
“We’re here to tell the family, ‘We’re here for you, we support you and we want to lift you up during this time of this hurt and pain,’” JT said. “And so thank you so much for coming out to honor the life of April and Donavan.”
During his prayer, Stephen Barton spoke about “peace that goes beyond all understanding.”
As volunteers headed toward the crowd with lighters, Allison Riley, JT’s wife, went straight to the Robinson family to kindle their candles first.
Neighbors lined the parking lot of the Providence Village Community Center, which is within walking distance of the street where April and her son lived, Blackstone.
Members of the Aubrey ISD community also attended, including AISD school board President Joey Saxon, Aubrey Middle School Principal Karen Wright and Monaco Elementary School Principal Barbara Pitt.
Two songs were performed during the vigil: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and “Amazing Grace.”
The Providence Village Church volunteers took up a cash collection for the family, which Providence Village Hope Foundation board member Don Fisher helped count at the end of the evening.
Both the church and the foundation are continuing to collect money.
“Since we’re nonprofit, we don’t have to pay any fees,” JT said. “One hundred percent of the donations that come through either us or Hope Foundation … As soon as we find out and determine the best way to send out those funds, we’re going to ensure that they get put where they need to go.”
Fisher specified that the money the Hope Foundation collects would be distributed for the girls to their caretakers once that decision was made.
Tester said the cost of transporting April and Fielder’s bodies back to Kentucky was more than $20,000, and the legal fees surrounding the family’s custody fight costs more on top of that.
“So now we’ve had to obtain a lawyer to fight for the girls, and that fee was like $5,500,” she said.
Her daughter Annie Robinson was the one who started the Go Fund Me intended to help the family pay for the expenses to bring their bodies home for burial, Tester said.
The link for that GoFundMe is gofundme.com/f/bringing-april-and-donavon-home.
The Robinson family is also getting assistance from Denton County Friends of the Family on working through the custody process, although that assistance is not financial in nature.
After the vigil, Timothy said the experience made an impact for him.
“It feels good to see that someone does care,” he said.