The pain in the aftermath of violent crimes can leave innocent people lost, confused and needing some kind of assistance.
Thanks to the position of victim witness coordinator in the Brown-Mills County District Attorney’s office, victims of crimes no longer have to look far for support.
Mechail Cox, a graduate of Brownwood High School and Angelo State University, has been the victim-witness coordinator for Brown-Mills County since November 2007.
The core of her position is to ultimately help the victims with anything they may need, Cox said. That can help make the court process somewhat easier for victims after experiencing a crime that could affect them for the rest of their lives.
“I help them fill out paperwork,” Cox said. “I explain the court proceedings to them and attend any court proceedings, law enforcement proceedings, or medical proceedings that they may have.”
This position was created thanks to a grant from the attorney general’s office.
“Our cases got so voluminous that we didn’t have enough people to work on them,” Vance Hill, district attorney investigator, said. “That’s why we requested the grant.”
The position of victim-witness coordinator helps in more ways than just paperwork and proceedings.
“The victims can receive victim compensation to help pay for crime-related injuries or counseling, which is really helpful,” Cox said.
Although attorneys are typically present to help victims in the some of the same ways that Cox does, and are certainly there for the victim, they are not always available.
“After being here two years, I can see that there’s a lot of need for this position,” Cox said. “I help the victims when their attorney is not available because of time restrictions.”
In addition to her formal schooling, Cox has also been involved in volunteering at CASA and is a member of the child welfare board. She has also gone through a week-long training in the attorney general’s office to prepare her for the position of victim-witness coordinator.
Cox said she may appear to simply be a guide, but she is involved much more than people may think in victims’ lives and proceedings after the crime.
“I devote a lot of time to helping the victim,” Cox said. “Most of what I do is take care of the victims. There are long weeks and long nights waiting on verdicts, and there’s a lot of emotion.”
Her efforts do not go unnoticed.
“I get a lot of positive feedback from the victims because of the help I have given them,” Cox said.
“It’s nice to be there in the end with the victim when there’s a good verdict in court,” Cox said, describing the best part of her job.
Her work is noticed in the district attorney’s office as well.
“She helps ensure victims rights are met,” Hill said. “She does a really great job.”