SELMA — Dozens of family and friends gathered Sunday evening to remember Cynthia Watkins, the 38-year-old mother of three who was killed Sept. 13 in a double murder-suicide at her southeast Fresno apartment.
About 40 people lit candles, prayed and shared memories to celebrate Watkins' life during the vigil at W.H. Shafer Park at Floral and Thompson avenues in Selma.
Among those was Watkins' cousin Erica Murphy, who told the crowd of the memories they made together, and the impact Watkins left on her.
"Cynthia's love was always so much and she never let you forget it," said Murphy. "She let you know that, especially when it was most needed."
Nine years ago, Murphy had a young son who died, and soon afterward she found support from her cousin. Watkins noticed Murphy missed expressing motherly love. So Watkins asked Murphy to be godmother to her now 11-year-old daughter.
Pastor Marvin Clayton of the First Friendship Baptist Church in Selma led the group's reflection and also held a special prayer for Watkins' three young children. Watkins was mother to a 12-year-old boy and two girls, ages 11 and 3. She worked at the Internal Revenue Service for the past several years.
Watkins' funeral is at 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Page Funeral Home in Selma. An account has been set up at Chase Bank to help Watkins' family pay for her funeral: Cynthia Watkins Funeral Expenses Donation Account, 3020275417.
Services are being held in Selma because many of her family members live and attend church in town.
Fresno police said Watkins was fatally shot by Anthony Jackson, 50, of Fresno — the father of Watkins' 3-year-old girl — who also shot and killed Jerome Dixon, 22, of Fresno, in a nearby apartment complex. Jackson then shot and killed himself. (The Fresno County Coroner's Office initially identified Dixon as Gerome Dixon.)
Watkins reportedly was in a room with her children when she was fatally shot.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.