TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Nine flowers and nine candles surrounded a picture of nine victims at Gesu Catholic Church on Saturday.
Those in the picture shared the same fate: they were murdered by Toledo serial killer brothers Anthony and Nathaniel Cook.
“It was by far the most unbelievable situation and murders ever committed in Toledo, Ohio,” said Frank Stiles, a retired Toledo Police detective who worked the Cook case.
In 2000, the Cook brothers pleaded guilty to all nine slayings, which, except for one, took place in the early eighties.
It was part of an agreement with the prosecutors' office to provide closure for the victim's families.
This week, Anthony Cook is up for parole in connection with the death of Tom Gordon on May 14th, 1980.
Saturday night, a mass was held at Gesu celebrating the lives of the nine victims.
Afterwards, there was a reception for their families and friends.
All present have been part of a campaign pleading with the state parole board through letters and e-mails to deny Anthony Cook's release.
One of them is Pam Henderson, whose brother Scott Moulton was one of his victims.
“Nine murders. About as simple as that. And my firm belief is that it will start again if he's released,” said Pam.
Twelve-year-old Dawn Rene Backes was a student at Gesu when she was killed.
Classmate Tonda Wiles says her murder represented the end of innocence.
“One day she was at school. Next day she was gone. She was murdered and raped. It's something that a seventh grader shouldn't have to deal with,” said Tonda.
In all probability, Anthony Cook will remain behind bars. Still, those who loved the nine victims want to guarantee their voices are heard loud and clear by the parole board.