Now, let’s remember the victim

UPDATE, MAY 1, 2015:  Skyy Mims,  was found guilty in all 11 counts in the death of “DK” Chaudhar. Her sentencing is scheduled for June 19, 2015.

When the news broke in March 2014 about a horrific murder at a convenience store in Whitfield County, Georgia,  I just shook my head.  We become immune to the nonstop barrage of violence.  Most of us never know the victims. I’ll pause here to show you a picture:

dicky

The man’s name was Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudhari, from India.  He was 37 years old.  His was a hard name for Americans to pronounce, so friends and co-workers called him “DK,” or “Dicky.”  I never met DK.  He had only worked in the Dalton store for a few weeks.  Many of us go in and out of those stores, and we’re always in a rush. Most of us don’t take the time to talk much with the clerk. I’ve never worked behind one of those counters, but I’m thankful for those who do.

Friends say DK was a nice guy who did his job well.  Convenience store clerks have to be on guard constantly.  Despite security improvements that include sharp cameras, they’re an inviting target for some.  A lot of cash changes hands, out in the open.  The cameras caught a young woman named Skyy Mims who, according to the jury,  stabbed him in the back and smothered him with duct tape.  DK died a painful, violent death.

Less than 24 hours after this awful crime, the police reviewed the video, received an anonymous tip, and Mims was named as a suspect.  She was soon captured, telling police, “You saw what I did.  Y’all caught me red-handed.”  The DNA evidence was overwhelming.  She had even left her cell phone at the scene, filled with her photos and videos.

During the trial, Mims spent much of her time laughing at video evidence and waving at news cameras. The jury left the courtroom, got comfortable in their chairs, reached a verdict, signed the papers, and returned the verdict in less than an hour.  “Guilty” on every count.  Even her friend, Kylle Harewell, who was trying to boost her music career, tweeted this after the verdict: “I cared about you and tried to help u, but u hurt me, and others. (You) took a life. Totally unacceptable, may God have mercy upon (your) soul.”

I won’t post Mims’ photo here. We’ve seen her plenty of times,  on every front page, website and newscast.  Her image is etched in our memory.  We didn’t see nearly as much of the victim.

Many media outlets gave the suspect extra attention because she did not fit “the profile.” Usually, we see a photo of a suspect or the mugshot of a person who has been arrested, and we say, “Now, that looks like someone who would commit that crime.”  Not this time.  The first photo issued by the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Department showed a glamorous young woman, with flashy jewelry and heavy makeup.  Some said it was the face of a fashion model.  So, we stopped what we were doing.  We searched Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  She was easy to find.  She had obviously been craving fame, and she got it.

DK had no family in the United States, other than his co-workers and a few friends.  His body was sent to India, where he was survived by two brothers, and a few other family members. They struggled to understand, as we did, why the “aspiring model/rapper” killed a working man for a little cash and about eighty lottery tickets.

Amanda Tyler is one of his former co-workers.  This is what she wrote on my Facebook page: “His smile could brighten your day. He never met a stranger, he spoke to everyone.  He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was so kind, and had the biggest heart of anyone I know.”

I’m so appreciative and sympathetic to the folks who keep those stores open.  All night, all weekend, on Christmas day, they’re on duty, looking over their shoulder.  They can’t trust anyone, can they?  Even people who don’t fit the profile may be out to get them.  If I could speak to DK, I’d say, “Thanks, friend.  Thank you for being there for us.  Thanks for trying to make an honest living, doing a job most of us wouldn’t want to do.  You had no idea such an evil person would enter your store that night.  I hope you know how much your co-workers and customers loved you. Rest in peace.”

We’ve seen Mims’ photos, and her camera-hogging, giggling courtroom appearances over and over. I assume that after her sentencing, her fifteen minutes of fame will be over.  I think it is far more important we remember the victim, one more time.

Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudmari, 1976-2014

Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudhari, 1976-2014

About David Carroll

David Carroll is a longtime Chattanooga radio and TV broadcaster, and has anchored the evening news on WRCB-TV since 1987. He is the author of "Chattanooga Radio & Television" published by Arcadia.

29 thoughts on “Now, let’s remember the victim

  1. Christie Duke

    Thank you David for this blog…..DK’s family & friends are in our thoughts and prayers! As you stated the victim’s rarely get their story told and that is so sad to me! I’m so happy to share this on my FB page so people will get to see him and his beautiful smile! His life was cut short for a few dollars and lottery tickets!!! So tragic and senseless! I pray God sends his comfort and wraps his loving arms around DK’s family! Again, thank you for posting his picture & story. Christie

    Reply
  2. Candyss Hudson

    All too often crimes such as these are committed and all too often the victims go unrecognized. For example, how many people can say by name a victim from a school shooting? However, we always know the perpetrators entire life story. I think these victims deserve to be remembered, and I also believe their families should see more than a tv screen filled the brutalities of their loved ones murder . Thank you for posting this! It has truly touched my heart that someone took a time out from the main stream to research and learn about the victim. Someone took the time to pay respects to a life ended too soon and too senselessly. Rest in peace DK and may God bless your family!

    Reply
  3. Lisa Welch

    David you put into words what a lot of us are feeling right now. I just wish his family and friends peace and pray for them all. I am so glad you gave everyone a chance to meet Dicky because he deserves that way more that she ever did.

    Reply
  4. L. Daddona

    Thank you for sharing DK’s story in this horrific event. Prayers for his family and those that knew him.

    Reply
  5. Lorna Dake

    Thank you David Carroll for sharing. This man came from the same area as my son-in-law. So very sad. My heart goes out to his family. From my experience people from India are kind, loving, generous, caring, happy, hardworking, peaceful people. No one deserves this, least of all DK who had just arrived in this country…to be savagely murdered.

    Reply
  6. Debra Cooper

    Thank you David for posting the victim’s story. We too often concentrate on the criminal and forgot about the one we should be thinking about. I am so sorry for this gentleman’s family. I never met him but I am so sad nonetheless.

    Reply
  7. Jackie

    Thank you David Carroll for honoring this man, what a shame it had to be a tragedy. I personally have been to India….I had the privilege of clowning there after the Tsunami….they are the most gentle of people I have ever met. Most are soft spoken, polite and kind. I never ran in to a mean one or an impatient one. I wish I could have met DK. Thank you for remembering him and reminding us to take time to notice people and appreciate their services. Prayers for his family. What a bad impression of America . I pray they forgive. Again thank you David for slowing us down.

    Reply
  8. Ronald Boston

    David Carroll once again shows Chattanooga who he really is; a person who cares about the good, the kind, and wonderful which can be found all around us in our town.

    This blog deliberately goes against the basic ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ de facto law of the news business, focusing instead on a good man, Dahyabhai Kalidas Chaudmari, who lost his life senselessly the other day.

    Thanks, David, for reminding us all to focus on those who have tragedy inflected upon them, rather than giving mountains of attention to those who perpetrate these violent acts.

    Reply
  9. Bill McCallie

    Thanks David for this story, however tragic it is, and for awakening readers, viewers and listeners to the predictable pattern of forgetting the victims in these horrific crimes. It’s such a shame when a productive member of our society is taken and the scummy residue of society remains only to continue to be a burden on the very society it has attacked. Thanks again David Carroll. You are a true reporter of the news and life’s situations. Regards, Bill McCallie

    Reply
  10. Gene

    I have meet David Carroll in person and this does not surprise me at all. Thank you for putting this story about the victim of such a senseless and violent crime out for people to read. I work in Dalton and read a little on the situation earlier this week and I don’t look at the attacker as a potential anything. She is a scum of the earth criminal and needs to be put under a jail somewhere and made to pay for her crime. Even better would be to send her to India for trial where she would face their laws for taking one of their sons.

    Reply
  11. dev

    first of all thank you very much to you all who really showing lots of respect and care for us,i would like to thank to David Caroll sir too for this blog . It means a lot to us. We can’t change whatever happen with Dahyabhai(DK).It is true that accident like this will bring down our passion to serve this country. But under any circumstances we people will always try to be honest with our job.When someone like DK or Me,come here on this land we always focus on not just making good money but we always try to learn as much as possible. We always try to be fair and kind with all either they abuse us or respect us.
    There’s lot of things i want to share with you all but right now that is it.
    We are coming from the country who believe in peace.
    Even our nation’s freedom fight is witness of that.
    Amecican need to accept us as a part of this country.
    thank you all again.
    R.I.P. dahyabhai (DK)

    Reply
  12. pam

    I know how it feels to lose a love one my daughter was killed and she was talked bad about but this man is being talk about like he was a angel im not saying he wasnt a nice man but i am saying if my daughter was the same race this man is and not white she may have been talked about nice and everyone wouldhave seen how woundful she was because she was a ANGEL

    Reply
  13. darlene

    Thank you for your editorial. Everyone needs to know this was a man with a name whose life was taken wrongly. A person not a clerk that is what he did not who he was . Deke will be missed.

    Reply
  14. Debbie

    I was thinking the very same thing, over the last couple of days. We really didnt know much about this man, but he had a family across the ocean, who probaly was excited he had come to America to live and work…and now to be told that he had been killed senselessly….so sad. No one people in other countries have a bad opinion of us. I wish he was still here-but us knowing what could have happened, I would go -shake this mans hand and tell him welcome, how can I help you.

    Reply
  15. Gina

    Thank you David. My friend will be missed very very much. He was everything that has been said about him. He always always was smiling!!

    Reply
  16. sanjay d chaudhari

    first of all thank you very much to you all who really showing lots of respect and care for us,i would like to thank to David Caroll sir too for this blog . It means a lot to us. We can’t change whatever happen with Dahyabhai(DK).It is true that accident like this will bring down our passion to serve this country. But under any circumstances we people will always try to be honest with our job.When someone like DK or Me,come here on this land we always focus on not just making good money but we always try to learn as much as possible. We always try to be fair and kind with all either they abuse us or respect us.
    There’s lot of things i want to share with you all but right now that is it.
    We are coming from the country who believe in peace.
    Even our nation’s freedom fight is witness of that.
    Amecican need to accept us as a part of this country.
    thank you all again.

    Reply
  17. Glynne

    Thank you David for sharing this with us. You are so right, we always remember the suspect’s name and the awful circumstances. This poor man did not deserve this, nobody does. How dare she think she had the right to take his life, take him from his family? His family will remember all of this for the rest of their lives. The horror will always haunt them. I am so sorry this happened to him. As a lifelong citizen of Dalton, this sickens me. I apologize to the family for all of the people in Dalton. May Dicky rest in peace.

    Reply
  18. Rajesh Chaudhary

    Thank you David for sharing this news and written blog on it. How dare she was and just for some money. in US only his friends are there not even any family member. I am very disappointment from GA State crime. I hope, Same story should not be repeat again………….

    Reply
  19. mitsiecraig

    Thank you for speaking about this man, like you I never met him but I’m sure he was a good man. So many times we concentrate on who did the crime and forget about the victim. Thank you for honering him.

    Reply
  20. Pamela Benson

    All I can say Mr. Carroll is well said. Your words are so true and I am still wiping away tears. God Bless you and most of all let us all keep his family in our prayers.

    Reply
  21. Susan Kite

    You’re right, we don’t see much about the victims. This is a wonderful tribute to a man who was in the wrong place at the wrong time; someone who was only trying to make a living and live a good life. Thanks so much

    Reply
  22. jacque Benderman

    Thank you, David. I love the way you write and talk. How I wish some of the national news reporters displayed your honesty and feeling for people. You are a credit to your profession.

    This precious one’s death and your remarks may help to make us more considerate of those who do that work. You pointed out one very sad aspect of American life – if one is good looking, he/she gets much better treatment.

    Reply
  23. Toni Rende

    Thanks, David – You gave this us this face to remember with a sweet personality to match and a story told as only you can do.
    May God Bless his parents. Do you have any way of getting your story to them? It would give them great comfort in this world this is growing increasingly evil. This victim’s face is etched in my mind and since I am out of state and glad I haven’t seen the cruel monster that took his life. The victim’s genuine bright smile is surely more beautiful than a fake super-model like grin.

    Reply
  24. Julie

    This is just so sad and it could very well have been my daughter who was killed that night. She had been hired for the job that Deke worked. She was hired for the same store, the same shift, etc… We just calculated and decided that it would be too expensive for us to take her back and forth to work and we were worried about her working there anyway. These convenience stores are very dangerous places to work, especially at night. So, when she decided not to take the job, Deke was hired for it. I am so sorry for this young man and for his family…

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *