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GREENSBORO, N.C. — As DeCarlo Bennett prepares to leave prison Saturday, billboards were installed in Greensboro and Durham sending a message against domestic violence.

Thirteen years ago, Bennett pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Sherri Denese Jackson, later leading Greensboro police to the spot where he buried her body.

Friday afternoon, loved ones gathered for a balloon release in Durham below a billboard reading “Domestic violence kills” installed by the Sherri Denese Jackson Foundation for the Prevention of Domestic Violence.

“I can still feel her smile, but I think Sherri would be very happy, I know she would be,” said Portia Shipman, the organization’s founder and executive director. “I don’t think she knew how special she was to me and my family.”

Jackson was 27 years old when she was reported missing, her body was recovered 17 months later.

“We already know that was an unjust sentence, but the answer to all of that is to make sure that somebody else’s life is saved for the message that Sherri Jackson Foundation is delivering,” Shipman said.

She’s hopeful the billboards, which give information about the foundation, will encourage others to call for help when needed.

“It’s up to us to help victims because victims don’t know they don’t know how to use their voices,” Shipman said.

FOX8 spoke with Clara Jackson, Sherri’s mother, who said she is glad the billboards will send a message against abuse. She said Friday by phone that she cannot wish Bennett well, but she hopes he knows he did an ungodly thing.

Speaking directly to Bennett, Shipman said he can be part of the part of the solution, and opened the door for a conversation.

“You can actually help us build the message that domestic violence kills, you can be a spokesperson for this organization. You can do more if you want to, DeCarlo Bennett get in touch with me.”

FOX8 could not locate an attorney representing Bennett for comment.

Shipman encourages anyone facing abuse to call the organization’s hotline at 336 510-9292.

You can find other ways to get connected here.