Mother of Murrells Inlet woman killed in 2017 pushes for end to domestic violence

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GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – A Murrells Inlet woman’s family is honoring victims of domestic violence two years after she was killed by her ex-husband.

Sharon Doehner says she’ll never forget her fond memories of her daughter Jessica Perry.

“Jessica had a very kind and gentle soul,” said Doehner. “Her smile could light up a room. She was very passionate about coastal conservation. She was very passionate about raising funds for artificial reefs.”

Perry’s family raised money to drop an artificial reef in her memory back in February.

About eight years after their divorce, Jessica was killed by her ex-husband Eric Perry in September 2017. Investigators say after killing her, he started a fire in her store Perry’s Bait & Tackle.

Eric Perry was soon arrested while escaping on a boat with her body. He pleaded guilty to murder and arson in July. He will spend 45 years in prison.

Jessica was 36 years old.

“She did tell me a couple times, ‘I’m so afraid he’s going to kill me one day,’ but she still had these feelings for him and she felt that she could fix him,” Doehner said.

Alma Sierra, who’s a victim’s advocate with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, says she remembers Jessica.

“She was my very first domestic violence victim that I had when I came to work with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and I will never forget the impact that she made for me,” said Sierra.

Since Jessica’s death, Doehner has worked with domestic violence awareness groups. She’s raised money and held vigils like one at the sheriff’s office Thursday evening. Jessica and five other domestic violence victims killed in the county were remembered as part of domestic violence awareness month.

Doehner says she wants to help victims speak up and leave domestic abuse situations, so another family doesn’t go through what hers has.

“That’s the way we’ll bring about change is by talking about it and letting people know what’s going on out there,” she said.

Perry’s Bait & Tackle holds a benefit every year on the Saturday after Jessica’s birthday of Nov. 13. This year’s benefit will be on Nov. 16 at the tackle shop on U.S. Highway 17 Business from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Because of Jessica’s love of the ocean, the benefit will support an artificial reef in memory of people lost at sea along the Grand Strand coast. You can find more about it on the Facebook event for the benefit.

Doehner says 30 women and 11 men in South Carolina have died because of domestic violence in the last year.

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