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2009 Honor Program news coverage: Metrowest Daily News

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Remembering murder victims today in Boston
The MetroWest Daily News

BOSTON —   A group of homicide victims, including several with local ties, will be remembered at a ceremony today on Beacon Hill.

The fifth annual Honor Program will add 44 new names to the Garden of Peace memorial in Boston, bringing its total to 655.

The local victims include Esther Ventola of Milford; Virgie Hewitt, a Stow woman who died in Hudson; and Michael Vonbehren of Shrewsbury.

Ventola, 60, died in 2007. Her husband, Joseph Ventola, is charged in her stabbing death.

Vonbehren, 18, died last year. A Lowell man whom police say drove drunk the wrong way on Interstate 290 crashed head-on into Vonbehren's car, killing both men.

Hewitt, 75, was also killed on the road. A Maynard man was found guilty of misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide in her 2001 death.

The ceremony will also commemorate Thomas Sato Danforth of Weston, who died in 2008 at age 25.

Speakers include family members of victims.

"I think that's the most important part of the program," said Evelyn Tobin, chairwoman of the Garden of Peace board of directors.

"The annual Honor Program offers us a chance to come together as a community to remember our loved ones and to transform our private loss into a public concern," Tobin said.

The garden is located on the upper plaza, behind the State House, between the McCormack State Office Building and 100 Cambridge St.

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