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Candles light up memories

Vigil held to commemorate one-year anniversary of Joshua Pipho's death

Posted: November 24, 2008 9:23 p.m.
Updated: November 25, 2008 4:55 a.m.

The Pipho family is joined by Rev. Rory Strand, right, at the one-year memorial for Joshua Pipho, who was killed in Stevenson Ranch. Friends and family gathered at Central Park for a candlelight vigil Monday evening.

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"It doesn't feel like a whole year's passed," Brittney Falsey said during a candlelight vigil for her cousin Joshua Pipho Monday night at Central Park.

Pipho, 20, was killed Nov. 24, 2007, after a fight with Michael Dean Stephens, 19, at a party in Stevenson Ranch. Stephens allegedly stabbed Pipho, then ran Pipho over with a car. Stephens is scheduled for arraignment Dec. 3 in San Fernando Superior Court.

Stephens is charged with murder and attempted premeditated murder. If convicted on both counts, he could face two life sentences, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Falsey and Nicole Porter, 23, a friend of the Pipho family, sat on the concrete sidewalk in Central Park and spelled "RIP Joshua" in candles.

Falsey and Porter spent months planning the vigil, Porter said. "It helps just to know everyone has the same feeling and supports each other," she said.

Family members exchanged hugs during the silent vigil, the only sounds heard were metal candle holders clicking against the pavement.

"I don't know how to explain it. I still feel empty inside," said Cindy Pipho, Joshua Pipho's mother. She isn't looking forward to the family's first Thanksgiving without Joshua.

"Last year this time we were hugging and looking forward to all the tomorrows. Instead of that he went home," said Patricia Wise, Joshua Pipho's grandmother.

Wise repeats how good a person her grandson was and how much time they spent together. "He would come and get Jack and I for ice cream," she said. Joshua Pipho would insist on picking up the ice cream tab, she said.

Joshua Pipho came to his grandparents' aid during the 2007 wildfires, said Jack Wise, Joshua Pipho's grandfather. "We were evacuating and the fire was bearing down on our home and here comes Joshua and his brother," Jack Wise said.

His grandsons helped pack the car and watered down the roof in hopes they could save their grandparents' house, Wise said. The home survived the wild fires, he said.

Ryan Pipho was Joshua Pipho's brother and occasional rival. The two battled to see who could make the more spectacular play on the baseball diamond, Ryan Pipho said.

"We both always wanted to make a play. We wanted to be leaders," he said. The friendly competition built a bond on the baseball field that made the two inseparable, Ryan Pipho said. Now with his brother gone, it's hard to move on, he said.

"This whole year has been tough especially because it's someone so close," Ryan Pipho said.

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