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Updated: Saturday, 28 Jan 2012, 9:28 PM CST
Published : Saturday, 28 Jan 2012, 4:23 PM CST
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Hundreds of Esme Barrera's friends are coming together once again in downtown Austin to celebrate her life. The benefit at Beerland on Red River Street was scheduled weeks before APD announced the prime suspect in her death, James Loren Brown, 25, committed suicide .
Some of the music mentor's friends are remaining skeptical about Brown and his possible involvement in Barrera's death. Police said the linked him to the crime via DNA but did not elaborate.
"I am not jumping to conclusions," said Patrick Floyd, a friend and former co-worker of Esme's. "I know a lot of people are optimistic right now and I am hopeful also that this is the attacker and that means that this person is not going to be a threat anymore."
Austin Police said Thursday Brown was connected by DNA to five assaults on women in South and East Austin beginning last Summer. He is also the prime suspect in Barrera's murder.
Brown was found dead in his apartments, just .2 miles from Esme's home, from an apparent suicide . A Navy veteran, Brown worked as a waiter and once attended Austin Community College.
Esme's friends, who intend to listen to bands at her sold out benefit Saturday, told KXAN her case is far from closed and just bringing some relief.
"It is not something that brings our friend back," said Bobby Munoz, who played in a softball league with Esme. "I think a lot of people think ultimately, justice was not served."
Munoz said the break in the case is also not changing the mood of Saturday's benefit.
Munoz did wear a red shirt he had made in honor of Esme that has a woman drawn on it who is wearing a shirt that says, 'Esmericle' on the back.
"There was this girl there [at the softball games] that was twice as loud as everybody else and a much better mood whether the team was winning or losing. Esme was my superfan," Munoz reflected.
Esme's parents are not expected at the benefit, but her sister could stop by, friends said.
Floyd, who spoke at Esme's private Austin memorial, told KXAN he has been in touch with her family and they are doing well.
"Even under trying circumstances her parents were just really wonderful. When I talked to her father, he was grateful for the things that have been done about awareness, the things that have been done to celebrate her life," Floyd explained.
All of the money collected at this benefit will go to Esme's family to help pay for her funeral expenses and to Girls Rock Camp where she volunteered.
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