By PAUL ANDERSON
City News Service
At the annual rally for Orange County victims, keynote speaker John Steves recounted how he saw his wife's lifeless body just minutes after she was run down by a high motorist in Laguna Niguel.
It was the morning after he and his wife celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary, he said.
When their son came home with a lost dog, Mara Steves went out with the canine to find its owner, he said.
Five minutes later they went looking for her and came upon the crime scene, Steves said Friday.
"Crying out in anguish, I held her in my arms," he said. "I gently closed her eyes, the eyes I so lovingly looked into for so many years."
John Steves also recalled his wife's passion for her local schools.
When he bumped into former Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre at Fashion Island one day, his wife dashed after him for an autograph. When the baseball legend asked her what she planned to do with his signature, she replied, "I'm a PTA president, and I want to auction it off for money."
The death of his wife has left Steves feeling like he's not the man he used to be, prompting Rackauckas to tell him he's a "real man."
Buoyed by Illinois lawmakers backing a victims' rights law this week, Rep. Ed Royce and Broadcom founder Henry Nicholas touted momentum for national legislation giving victims more rights in court cases.
Nicholas was behind Marsy's Law, named in honor of his slain sister, which was approved by voters in 2008.
"Yesterday morning, something substantial, I think, happened," Nicholas said at the Orange County District Attorney's annual Victims Rights Rally. "We achieved one of the more substantial milestones (for victims rights)."
Illinois state senators unanimously approved putting a measure on the November ballot that would be much like Marsy's Law.
"This is significant in that we attempted to get legislation approved in California and we're unsuccessful," Nicholas said, referring to lawmakers who rejected Marsy's Law. "We had to bypass the legislature (with a ballot measure)."
"This represents a huge step forward" for the push to amend the U.S. Constitution for victims' bill of rights, Nicholas said.
Royce told those at the rally that he was continuing his push for a constitutional amendment. The congressman praised District Attorney Tony Rackauckas for his work on getting more rights for victims in legal proceedings.
"Tony Rackauckas was a big part in writing (Proposition 115) legislation," Royce said.