TAUNTON — Marking the one-year anniversary of their daughter’s brutal murder at the hands of Jared Remy, the parents of Jennifer Martel said Friday that they remain in the throes of grief but are committed to raising awareness of domestic violence.
“On good days you’re OK, but on the bad days, you feel like you want to die, just so you can see your daughter again,” Martel’s father, Brian Martel, 53, said after a service for Jennifer at First Parish Church.
Brian Martel’s words came exactly one year after Remy, now 35, fatally stabbed Jennifer at the Waltham townhouse that the couple shared with their young daughter.
Remy had a lengthy history of violence and had been arrested two nights earlier for attacking Martel at their home. But on the day after that arrest, a Middlesex prosecutor declined to seek measures to hold him after Jennifer Martel failed to appear in court to extend an emergency restraining order, and Remy was released.
Jennifer Martel, 27, was killed the next night, Aug. 15, and District Attorney Marian T. Ryan later tightened supervision of prosecutors’ bail requests for domestic violence cases and ordered an outside review of her office’s handling of the Remy case.
After Friday’s service, Martel’s mother, Patty Martel, 54, said prosecutors’ initial decision not to seek bail to hold Remy, after his arrest two days before the murder still weighs heavily on her.
“I think about that every day,” she said. “Now they’re trying to change [the bail procedures], but it’s just going to be too late for my daughter.”
In a statement, Ryan said that Jennifer and her family “are especially in our thoughts and prayers today,” adding that no efforts on the part of her office going forward can lessen the family’s loss.
“However, we have made changes to the way we make decisions on bail in domestic violence cases and we now require that there be two sets of eyes on each one,” Ryan said. “This new policy is working, although the change has been difficult.
“But all must be done to ensure, to the extent humanly possible, that what happened to Jennifer Martel does not happen again.”
During the emotional service, Jennifer Martel’s friends and family, as well as advocates for domestic violence prevention, remembered her as a loving mother and urged the more than 40 people in attendance to seek help for anyone they know who may be in an abusive relationship.
“She was a wonderful mother who we know loved her little girl more than life itself,” said a tearful Paula Baxendale, one of Martel’s aunts who spoke during the service, adding that the family wanted “to get the word out” about domestic violence.
“That’s the most important thing,” Baxendale said. “How important it is that we do speak up.”
Jennifer Martel’s daughter, Arianna, is in the custody of Jennifer’s brother, Brian Martel Jr., and his wife, Andrea
Prior to Friday’s service, Martel’s family visited her grave at the nearby Mayflower Hill Cemetery.
Remy pleaded guilty in May to the murder of Martel and is serving a life sentence. He is the son of Jerry Remy, the famed broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox, whose principal owner, John Henry, also owns The Boston Globe.
Martel’s parents vowed to remain steadfast in their commitment to domestic violence education and prevention.
“Just get the word out,” Brian Martel said, “so nobody else has to suffer like we did.”