Tallahassee Mother Helps States Track Criminals

By Julie Montanaro
April 16, 2014

A Tallahassee mother whose daughter was sexually assaulted and murdered has just been recognized for helping the families of victims across the country.

Pat Tuthill received an award from the Department of Justice one week ago today, calling it perhaps the most bittersweet day of her life.

"I cried and cried when they called me (to notify me) and then after I hung up the phone, dried my eyes and did the happy dance," Tuthill said.

Pat Tuthill was awarded the Ronald Reagan Public Policy Award in Washington DC last week.

It comes 15 years after the rape and murder of her daughter Peyton.

"It has been a bittersweet victory if you will," Tuthill said.

Tuthill shared her story in a Department of Justice video:

"The young man broke into Peyton's house at 11:30 in the morning. He viciously attacked her and killed her."

23 year old Peyton Tuthill was killed while attending grad school in Colorado. Her mother would soon discover the man who did it was on probation, but no one was supervising him because he'd crossed state lines and authorities in Maryland never notified anyone in Colorado that he was there.

Tuthill has worked tirelessly to change that. She successfully lobbied governors of all 50 states to sign a compact that requires state to state notification for probation and parolees and lobbied for a law signed just last year that requires states to notify victims and their families of any moves or changes.

"Just to help increase the knowledge and public safety and the protection of families," Tuthill said. "Victims have a right to be notified."

Tuthill can hardly believe the award she received bears the name of President Reagan. He and Peyton share the same birthday.

"I really felt Peyton smiling on me that day," Tuthill said.

The Peyton Tuthill Foundation provides college scholarships for young people whose parents or siblings have been murdered. They'll hand out those scholarships in Tallahassee again in September.

A fundraiser is set for September 11th at the Hotel Duval.

For more information about the Peyton Tuthill Foundation, http://www.peytontuthill.org/

By Julie Montanaro
April 9, 2014

A Tallahassee mother is one of ten people receiving a national award today for her work to help victims of crime.

Pat Tuthill - seen here in an interview with us in 2010 - is in Washington D.C. today.

She was given the Ronald Reagan Public Policy Award by the U.S.Department of Justice.

Tuthill's daughter Peyton was raped and murdered in 1999 by an unsupervised probationer - who had moved from Maryland to Colorado.

Tuthill has lobbied nationwide for changes that make sure states are notified when probationers and parolees move across state lines.

She has also set up a scholarship in her daughter's name to help family members devastated by murder.

(U.S. Justice Department Release)


TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—The Department of Justice will recognize a Florida mother and legislative activist for her leadership in strengthening notification practices for crime victims and policies for monitoring and supervising parolees and probationers who move across state lines.

“Through their courage and critical contributions to assist and empower victims, these individuals and organizations have given hope to countless Americans victimized by crime--even under the most difficult circumstances,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “I am proud to recognize these extraordinary advocates by celebrating their achievements and assure them that the Department of Justice is more determined than ever to help ensure their continued success.”

Pat Tuthill will receive the Ronald Wilson Reagan Public Policy Award during the National Crime Victims’ Rights Service Awards ceremony Wed., April 9, in Washington, D.C.

On February 24, 1999, Tuthill’s 23-year old daughter Peyton, a graduate student in Colorado, was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered by a convicted criminal sent for drug treatment, as an unsupervised probationer, from Maryland to Colorado, without notice to Colorado officials. After her daughter’s death, Tuthill became a legislative activist, public speaker and advocate for crime victims of unsupervised offenders.

She traveled the country to convince policymakers in each state to support new legislation for monitoring and supervising parolees and probationers who move across state lines. In 2005, she helped Massachusetts become the 50th state to enact Interstate Compact Adult Offender Supervision. In Aug. 2013, her work culminated in the implementation of the first National Automated Standardized Victim Notification System, ensuring that all victims and their families, no matter where they live, are notified of all significant changes when offenders move between states so they can implement a safety plan.

The new nationwide system is directly linked to the Interstate Compact Offender Tracking System and guarantees victims of crime will be notified of all proceedings involving the unsupervised offender who victimized them, including the request to transfer; request approval; departure from the sending state; arrival in the receiving state; any violations of conditions of supervision; change of address or return to the sending state.

Tuthill also founded the Peyton Tuthill Foundation “Hearts of Hope Scholarships” in 2005 to provide college scholarships to children left behind by homicide. The foundation has
awarded $30,000 in scholarships to date.

“We are humbled and proud to recognize these extraordinary individuals, teams, and
organizations for their outstanding service” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole. “These
compassionate honorees have become beacons of hope for so many others who have endured
shock and deep sadness in the face of too many incidents involving violence and loss.”

In addition to Tuthill, the Department will recognize nine other individuals and
programs for their outstanding efforts on behalf of crime victims.

Descriptions and videos of
the honorees are available at the Office for Victims of Crime’s Gallery:

President Reagan proclaimed the first Victims’ Rights Week in 1981, calling for
renewed emphasis on, and sensitivity to, the rights of victims. National Crime Victims’ Rights
Week will be observed this year from April 6-12, and the theme is “30 Years: Restoring the
Balance of Justice.”

The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Karol V.
Mason, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control
crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice
Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of
Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More
information about OJP can be found at www.ojp.gov.

A Tallahassee woman whose daughter was murdered is now trying to help other families - not only get back on their feet - but look to the future.

She does it by awarding college scholarships to young people whose lives have been forever changed by a murder in the family.

"This is her high school graduation photo."

Two mothers flip through photos and share stories of their grinning baby girls.

They are bound by friendship and by pain.

"This is the last one we had taken together."

You see Pat Tuthill and Sylvonia Banks have both lost daughters to murder.

"The pain was so overwhelming that you don't know if you'll ever get out of bed," Tuthill said.

Peyton Tuthill was just 23 when she was raped and murdered in Colorado in 1999. After years of grief and rage, her mother founded the Peyton Tuthill Foundation which provides college scholarships to children whose parents or siblings have been murdered.

"Families are not only emotionally harmed and devastated, but I've found they're financially devastated," Tuthill said.

One of the families hoping for a "Hearts of Hope" scholarship is the Banks family. Keira Banks was just 24 when she was gunned down in Orlando in 2007. Her murder has never been solved.

Her sister is now a junior at Rickards High school and she and her mother talk often about the hole it has left in their lives.

"We all loved her and it's just having to get upand think about the other kids that I have and to certainly think about the things that they need to see in me, the encouragement, the strength to move forward and to go on with their lives," Banks said.

"My vision is that these children know that they have not been forgotten about, that there are people out there who understand the pain, who want to help them go through it and continue their lives and thrive," Tuthill said about the mission of her foundation.

Families are gathering next Tuesday to help raise money for the Hearts of Hope Scholarships.

There is a wine and cheese tasting, Tuesday, September 14th, 5:30-8pm at the Wine Loft, 1240 Thomasville Road.

For more information contact the Peyton Tuthill Foundation at www.peythontuthill.org or tuthillfoundation@gmail.com

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