Community remembers Bland hit & run victims, demands justice from prosecutor

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BLAND, Va. (WDBJ7) Nearly six months to the day, people are continuing to remember two women killed in a hit and run in Bland County on February 20, 2017.

But friends and family are also speaking out demanding answers from the Commonwealth's Attorney prosecuting the case.

Well over 100 people filled the Bland County Courthouse lawn Tuesday night mourning, singing, and remembering Connie DeHart and Fran Burgess, showing just how much they meant to the community.

DeHart's husband Orville said of the candle light vigil, "It's overwhelming, it's overwhelming to see so many people that have come to support us here tonight. That shows you what kind of a county we live in."

Among those in the crowd were the two women that did daily walks with Connie and Fran, including Bonnie Blankenship who was with them when they were hit, and was reportedly hit as well.

She said of her friends, "We walked together and we laughed and we cried and we just enjoyed each other's fellowship together, and we miss them."

And while there was a strong sense of mourning, there was also prayer for justice, as the man who is charged with hitting them, Alex Nunley, goes to the Grand Jury on September 11.

Some were saying they're upset with Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick White who is prosecuting the case for not communicating enough with the family and not being more aggressive with the charges.

Connie's son Duane DeHart said, "I'm not happy with it, I think there's a lot more that can be done because, in my opinion, anybody out here and the people that's dealing with this, if that was their mom, if that was his mom that was on the ground, I guarantee the tables would have turned."

His father added, "I just want the prosecutor to do his job, like he's supposed to, and let God set the punishment, because I don't want the man to get a life sentence, but he needs to pay the penalty for what he's done."

Blankenship said of the case, "We feel like it's been drug out for a long time and it's been extremely hard on all the family and we just want to see justice done and charges carried through."

Fran's husband David Burgess said, "I don't want to hate nobody, I don't want to be mean to nobody, I just hope that justice is served."

Nunly faces two charges of hit and run resulting in death, one charge of hit and run resulting in injury, and one count of failure to report. Duane DeHart said a charge of reckless driving was dropped at a recent hearing.

Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick White said in a statement Tuesday, ""I understand the concerns felt and voiced in this matter. This loss is felt in our entire community. My office has diligently pursued justice in this case. This is an ongoing investigation, during which, I have met on numerous occasions with the VA State Police, local Law Enforcement, witnesses, and members of the community. The facts and evidence support the charges I have authorized at this time. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who are grieving. As always, I will continue to make time to answer any further questions I can."