INDIANAPOLIS — Honoring family members through homecooked meals is the goal of a new effort by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. The office just unveiled a cookbook filled with favorite recipes of homicide victims.
Vernell Miller’s grandson, 13-year-old Jarrell Tucker, loved his grandmother’s pizza.
“It’s something that is connected to a very positive memory,” Miller said. “A very loving memory. It’s he and I in the kitchen doing something really silly.”
Tucker was shot and killed on August 6, 2012 in Indianapolis.
“He was a kid,” Miller said. “He got into mischief like kids do. He was a great kid. I loved him to death. a lot of people did too.”
Tucker’s photo is one of the many smiling faces pictured in the new cookbook. Each page shows a victim of homicide, some of their story and a favorite recipe.
“It’s going to stir up conversation,” Claressa Patton, homicide victim advocate, said. “Books are conversational pieces anyway. But, this book is going to stir up conversations.”
Patton’s brother and husband appear side-by-side in the cookbook. They were killed on October 26, 2005, and December 22, 2005.
“The murders are unrelated, but they were 57 days apart and it was shocking for our family, it was unimaginable,” Patton said.
Patton’s pain propels her forward, helping families grieve as they go through the process of the justice system. She has high hopes for this cookbook.
“I’m hoping that they will be able to focus on the loved one that has passed on,” Patton said. “We want to talk about their favorite dishes and what that meant for them. Who had to cook it, and things they would eat and things they would not eat.”
The cookbooks will first go to the families of the homicide victims, specifically those included in the cookbooks. Eventually the prosecutor’s office said the community will be able to request a cookbook.