NewsLocal News


Maura Binkley lives on through 'Maura's Voice'

Posted at 6:12 PM, Oct 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-31 18:31:45-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The father of a shooting victim says he's ready to make a difference in her name.

Maura Binkley was killed one year ago when a gunman opened fire at Hot Yoga Tallahassee in the Betton Place Plaza.

A memorial for the victims will be held at Betton Place on Saturday, but Binkley's dad has a bigger mission.

The goal is to help put money toward gun violence research, specifically violence against women.

Jeff Binkley says he doesn't want what he is suffering through to happen to anybody else.

For Jeff Binkley, describing his daughter is pretty easy.

"Always smiling. It definitely lit up any room and I think so many people said that and the reaction to it is because it was more than a smile, it was what was behind that smile," said Jeff.

But coping with that loss is difficult. Jeff says he works minute-by-minute -- hour-by-hour.

"Everything from the changing of the seasons to day-to-day occurrences to things we've always done together. All of that combined for an impact no can know," said Jeff.

Maura and another woman, Nancy Van Vessum, were both shot and killed at Hot Yoga Tallahassee on Nov. 2, 2018. Five other people were hurt.

As hard as that is on Jeff, he's solidifying her memory through Maura's Voice.

It's a research effort to combat gun violence. The goal is to find the best way to use laws already in place, like red flag laws.

"Providing science-based solutions but it's all being driven by a response to turn evil into something that is good and positive," said Jim Clark, FSU Dean of the College of Social Work.

Clark is apart of the "think-tank" to make all this possible. Jeff says this is an effort that Maura would have believed in.

"A person who loved and cared for people deeply, did everything she could, everyday to enhance the well-being of others," said Jeff.

Now, through Maura's Voice, Jeff hopes everyone else will believe in that mission, too.

Jeff will also be at the Capitol next Monday to meet with the Senate President to talk about how Maura's Voice could help efforts statewide.