Video: St. Guillen's sister speaks

msnbc.com
updated 4/5/2006 2:48:46 PM ET 2006-04-05T18:48:46

Just over one month ago, a 24-year-old grad student from Boston was found raped and murdered.  Her body was found in a desolate area of Brooklyn, New York. 

Imette was studying criminal justice at John Jay College in Manhattan and was supposed to graduate this May.  Last month, a bouncer who was last seen with Imette the night that she was brutally murdered was arraigned on first- and second-degree murder charges. 

Forty-one-year-old Darryl Littlejohn, who has a past criminal record, faces life in prison if he is convicted. 

Rita spoke with Imette's sister, Alejandra St. Guillen in her first TV interview since Littlejohn's arraignment.

RITA COSBY, HOST, "LIVE & DIRECT": Alejandra, I can tell you, everybody who's watching the show tonight has been praying for and you your family.  How are you all of you doing? 

ALEJANDRA ST. GUILLEN, SISTER OF IMETTE:  We are hanging in there with the support of our friends and our family.  It gets more difficult every single day, but we are trying to do the best we can to honor Imette's memory and honor her life. 

COSBY:  You're doing some great scholarships.  And from the pictures, your sister was so beautiful.  We feel we've all known her and had the pleasure at least to know her through you and your mom.  Tell us about these great scholarships that you're doing in her honor. 

ST.GUILLEN:  Currently two scholarships are being established.  One is at John Jay College where she was studying criminal justice, most recently in New York City.  And there's a memorial service for her in New York on Friday, this Friday. 

They are trying to raise $250,000 to set up an endowment for a scholarship in Imette's name.  And we are trying to, along with John Jay and Association for a Better New York, trying to spearhead that effort, as well as a scholarship fund we have set up here with Boston Latin School, where both Imette and I attended high school.  Again, a scholarship in Imette's name to honor her memory, to honor her commitment to justice. 

COSBY:  Why has this been also been such an important mission?  I've been so impressed with you and your mom, because you clearly both want to make a difference now. 

ST.GUILLEN:  Right, right.  We want to honor Imette.  We want her to be remembered for how she lived, and we want people to be able, through her name, be able to proceed in their life and so forth. 

Imette and I were both recipients of a scholarship set up for a woman who had been murdered.  Every year that we received the check we would say her name, and we honored her, and that's what we hope for with Imette's scholarship. 

We really just want other people to really remember who she was for how she lived, and also her commitment to justice, and continue the work that she was unable to do by being taken away so soon. 

COSBY:  There's also some laws that I know you, your mom, Luke, all of you have been so brave through all of this, Imette's law.  What does that mean to you to have that proposed, named after your sister?  What does it mean for you that they're working on Imette's law? 

How does it make you feel to hear her name now taking such an important significance to so many people? 

ST.GUILLEN:  Well, we just feel that Imette was working towards justice for all.  And the fact that this work will continue in her name is just so important. 

This is obviously a very difficult time for us.  But we really just are trying to focus our energies on what we can do to make this world a better place, to honor what she was trying to do in her work and in her life. 

COSBY:  Well, we really applaud all your efforts.  We also continue to keep all of you in our prayers. 

ST. GUILLEN:  Thank you.

Watch 'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' each night at 9 p.m. ET on MSNBC.

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