Murder victim's memory lives on in new short film

5:49 PM, Feb 13, 2012   |    comments
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SAINT PAUL PARK, Minn. -- When Deb and Dan Tilson see their 5 year old grandson Darion smile, it's like their daughter - his mother - is still here with them.

"He has this great desire to dance and perform and be the life of the crowd just like she was," says Deb Tilson.

We first met the Tilsons in 2007, not long after their daughter Kristine Larson was murdered. Darion's father, Zachary Matthews, was convicted of strangling Kristine, leaving her body in a car, then setting it on fire after she told him their relationship was over.

Kristine's story captured the nation's attention when it was featured on the A&E program, The First 48.

Now, Kristine's spirit continues to live on in a new short film and music video.

Local filmmaker Jason Brox teamed with rap artist Derrik Green who was close to Kristine and wrote a song about her life and death.

"It's a lament of what was a cathartic release that he was the last person to see her arrive," says Jason.

The video, with a reenactment of the murder, has turned into a kind of public service announcement, one Jason hopes will help other young people escape abuse.

"There is a blatant tone to this that says this is what happened and this happens and it's not something that you hear about on the news every once in a while," says Jason.

Today, Deb and Dan are raising Darion and his mother's memory is still very much alive.

And Deb has become a kind of crusader against domestic violence, sitting on the board of the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women and speaking to young people about how to get help.

"Some things are not acceptable and if you do accept, it may be permanent acceptance like we have with Kristine right now," says Deb.

Deb hopes the new film about her daughter's struggles can save even one person.

"It's very important to have that out there to show the world that Kristin did not die in vain, that there is goodness that can come out of this."

The video should be finished in a couple of weeks as part of National Stalking Awareness Month. Deb Tilson says she plans to show it during the presentations she makes to young people about domestic violence.

She points to the annual femicide report as reason enough to continue the fight.  Last year, 23 women died in Minnesota as a result of domestic violence, four children and one man.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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