KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Sally Wilkins was the first member of Erik’s Army to show up to the 4:30 p.m. protest on South Street in downtown Kalamazoo Tuesday afternoon.
A few minutes later, two other members arrived with signs that read ‘Justice for Erik.’ They held them on the sidewalk across the street from the Park Club where Kalamazoo County prosecutor Jeff Getting was holding an event, they said.
“I think the residents deserve better than him to prosecute cases,” Wilkins said during an interview prior to the protest. “He is great at plea bargaining. He is, in my opinion, not a prosecuting attorney.”
Wilkins said Erik’s Army gathered Tuesday because they’d like to see a new prosecutor elected.
They invited other families whose loved ones cases have gone cold, like Ryan Cole. The Cole family said their 22-year-old son died after an altercation at a friend’s home in Galesburg on February 11, 2017.
“We [protest] whether it's raining or snowing or windy or hot. We are there to support these families,” Wilkins said. “And now to have four families, kind of prominent situations out there, Kalamazoo wake up. You’ve go to stand for something.”
Wilkins said they’ve been disappointed in the way Getting has handled Erik Cross’ murder case. Cross was found dead in the middle of the road in front of his home in Vicksburg in June 1983. Cross was 16-years-old.
Since then, no suspect has been prosecuted despite a person of interest being named two years ago. FOX 17 has reached out to the prosecutor's office for a comment and is waiting to hear back.
“Erik is dead. His sister and his mom want nothing more than justice,” Wilkins said “Just the fact that this has crushed his mom and his sister so much, I look forward to the day they are all brought to justice and they are all sentenced to prison.”
Last year the Cross family asked Attorney General Dana Nessel to look into the case. In January, she declined to bring any charges in the case. She said in a statement: ‘there is simply not enough evidence to criminally charge any of the remaining suspects with the death of Erik Cross.’
Retired Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas, who was one of the main investigators on the case for decades, told FOX 17 in a previous interviewthat the AG’s office ‘hasn’t given up,' they just need more evidence.
Wilkins said they’re grateful for Nessel’s help. In the meantime, Erik’s Army will continue to protest when they can, hoping that the county elects someone who can represent the ‘little guy.’
“Somebody’s who’s in there for the little people,” Wilkins said. “The little people who are not of wealth in kalamazoo, who really deserve justice when a case like this comes up.”