SYRACUSE — The young lives of Josh Knisley and Tara Thornburg were lost three years ago today, Monday, Feb. 19, in Syracuse. The pair were victims of a double shooting.
Friends of the two gathered Saturday to place light blue ribbons on all lampposts throughout Syracuse, in remembrance of their lives and untimely deaths. The hope, of family and friends, is those who see the ribbons will remember their golden hearts, electrifying smiles and their own individual memories of Knisley and Thornburg.
“You hear everyday on television about shootings and murders. Just like the awful school shooting in Florida this past week. But, first of all, you think it will never happen to your child, that it would never happen here in Syracuse,” stated Rhonda Bickel, mother of Josh Knisley. “Those things just don’t happen here … rocked our families and this community to its core and took two beautiful souls that awful night three years ago.”
Additionally, Bickel stated, “We have been so blessed by the way our community has embraced our families during this difficult time. The community has truly wrapped their arms around us … they wanted to share all their wonderful stories about our son, about how polite and respectful he always was, what a golden heart he had, how he was always there for everyone, and about his electrifying smile … I know the Thornburg family also experienced the same.”
Bickel stated people don’t realize “how important it is to a parent who has lost their child, to keep their memory alive. You always want everyone to remember them and the golden heart they had. Josh and Tara were two of the most kind hearted people you could ever meet. These three years have been every parent’s worst nightmare. But it has also been amazing to us about all the love and compassion this community has shown not only to us, and both our families … but the out pouring of love and respect to Josh and Tara. For that, we will be forever grateful.”
Kyle David DeHart, 24, Syracuse, was sentenced to 110 years in the murders. Brandon Thomas Woody, 24, Syracuse, was sentenced to 120 years in the murders. Both were sentenced Oct. 26, 2016. Both men appealed their convictions, which have been denied.
A third individual, Thomas Glen Hursey, was sentenced to 27 1/2 years for his part in the murders.