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Purple for Willow coloring community

Update: 10:06 pm EFFINGHAM COUNTY -- A Watson man pleaded not guilty to murdering his 7-year old niece, but people in the community are trying to focus on the little girl instead.
Update: 10:06 pm
EFFINGHAM COUNTY -- A Watson man pleaded not guilty to murdering his 7-year old niece, but people in the community are trying to focus on the little girl instead. 22-year old Justin DeRyke is accused of stabbing Willow Long.

Workers at Ad Hatters, in Effingham, printed special shirts and bracelets to honor Willow's memory. They're purple which was Willow's favorite color.

People who live in the area say it's been a rough couple of weeks, but they're trying to stay strong together. Another woman in the area is making braided bracelets for the cause. Money from both projects will benefit Willow's school and the Watson Civic Center.

Ad Hatters
910 West Fayette
Effingham
(217) 347 - 5101
T-shirts $12
Bracelets $2

Braided Bracelets $7
Contact Julie at: nikkee6312@gmail.com
Original: 5:43 pm
EFFINGHAM COUNTY -- People in this community are coming together as court proceedings continue. The man accused of killing his 7-year old niece last week, entered a not guilty plea in court Thursday.

22-year old Justin DeRyke is accused of stabbing Willow Long to death. The emotions in this case are still so fresh, but people are remembering Willow by wearing purple and putting it all over town.

There are purple ribbons tied to the courthouse and other parts of the city, plus people wore purple shirts and bracelets. It was Willow's favorite color. The State's Attorney says the past week-and-a-half have been rough for the entire community.

If DeRyke's convicted, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars. That's because of how old he is compared to Willow. Currently, DeRyke's trial is scheduled to start in December, but attorneys say it probably won't happen until next year.

DeRyke's attorney is one of the county's public defenders. He didn't want to comment about Thursday's proceedings.

Many people are remembering Willow by giving back to the community. One woman is making braided bracelets with part of the money raised going to Willow's elementary school.

Ad Hatters, in Effingham, is printing purple t-shirts and bracelets with special designs on them. The proceeds will be split between the school and the Watson Civic Center.

Ad Hatters
910 West Fayette
Effingham
(217) 347 - 5101
T-shirts $12
Bracelets $2

Braided Bracelets $7
Contact Julie at: nikkee6312@gmail.com
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