About 50 people gathered at in South Redondo Beach on Monday night to remember two women slain in a grisly attack last month.
Vicki Bergman, 59, and her 19-year-old daughter Courtney were found dead in their apartment on Rockefeller Lane in North Redondo Beach on Feb. 28. Prosecutors have charged Courtney Bergman's boyfriend, Jonathan Chacon, with two counts of capital murder with special circumstances in connection to their deaths.
Monday's service, which was organized by family friend Wendy Wharton Hess, was a solemn one, with Scripture readings and speeches punctuated by loud sobs. Despite this, many brought up fond memories of the pair.
"Vicki didn't hold anything back," said Marian Linke, a former coworker of Vicki Bergman. "If it was in her head, it probably came out of her mouth."
Linke described how, after the Bergmans' deaths, she had a conversation with Vicki Bergman's mother. Bergman's mother did not want to clear out her daughter's apartment.
"She just couldn't bring herself to come," Linke said, later adding, "She didn't know what she was going to do with the ashes…
"This is their memorial," Linke said. "This is their service."
Linke told how, when she was collecting items from the apartment, she happened upon some old photo albums from before Courtney Bergman was born. She flipped through the pages to find photos of Vicki Bergman traveling the world.
"She was so very happy in these pictures … It was a smile that I had never seen at work," Linke said.
Nadia Basich, who had known Courtney Bergman since third grade at Madison Elementary School, told attendees about how she and Bergman had grown close.
"The summer of 2009 was one of the best I'd ever had," Basich said as she reminisced about how she, Bergman and two other friends were inseparable during that time.
At the time of her death, Vicki Bergman had been working for Hess in her real estate staging business. Courtney Bergman worked at the Cheesecake Factory on Harbor Drive.
According to Hess, the Bergmans were close: "Courtney told Vicki almost everything."
During an exercise with Monsignor Michael Meyers, attendees remembered Vicki Bergman's wit, laughter, humor and her devotion to her daughter.
Courtney Bergman was "the best," according to some. "All she had to do was smile" and she could get whatever she wanted, another said. Attendees described her as someone who was honest and loving and who always saw the best in people.
The service ended with a prayer and a small reception in the hall next door.