Young black victims of violence in ‘no snitching’ culture

| June 1, 2015
Angela Revis, mother of Kiara Jackson, and Gerald Edwards, mother of Demarquis Edwards.

Angela Revis, mother of Kiara Jackson, and Gerald Edwards, mother of DeMarquis Edwards.

By Jeffrey L. Boney

Special to the NNPA from the Houston Forward Times

As it is often said, there is an unwritten rule that ties all parents together and no parent wishes to experience. That unwritten rule is:

“Parents are not supposed to bury their children!”

Whenever a parent has to bury their own child, it is painful, but it is even more heart-wrenching when a parent has no idea who killed their child and no answers as to why they were killed.

Just recently, it was Mother’s Day and it is customarily a day set aside for children to spend time with their mother and hopefully spoil them rotten.

This past Mother’s Day, however, was different for three mothers who have all found themselves coming together for a far different and less ceremonial reason–they are all seeking answers and closure surrounding the mysterious and shocking murder of their three children this past March.

The three mothers–Angela Revis, Gerald Edwards and Tanira Dean spent Mother’s Day holding a press conference at the apartment complex where there children–DeMarquise Edwards, 23, Kiara Jackson, 21, and Terrell Paynes, 20, were all murdered at the Arbor Court apartments, located in the 800 block of Seminar and Greens Road near Greenspoint Mall on March 20.

On March 20, a neighbor told the Houston Police Department that he heard shots ring out around 11:30 p.m. that evening at the Arbor Court apartment complex. According to witnesses, the complex always has a consistent flow of outside traffic on the weekends, so it would be difficult not to hear the gunshots and see something take place at that time.

According to investigators, a friend knocked on the door of the couple shortly after the gunshots were heard and got no answer. After realizing no one had come to the door, the individual went inside the unlocked apartment and found all three of the victims had been shot and killed.

DeMarquise Edwards and Kiara Jackson had been dating for two years and lived in the apartment complex, but according to Edwards’ mother, Gerald Edwards, the couple was in the process of looking for another place to stay because they didn’t like the atmosphere there.

Terrell Paynes was a classmate of Edwards at Nimitz High School. They remained friends up until the day they were murdered.

Even in the midst of the usual traffic that the apartment complex experiences, there still have been no arrests and no one has come forward with any information surrounding the murders.

According to police, they still do not have a motive and they believe the victims knew their killer because there were no signs of forced entry.

The mothers and other community activists are pleading with anyone in the community that has any information that will lead to the arrest of the person or people who tore their lives apart and left a hole in their hearts.

“I had just finished eating dinner with them the night they were killed,” said Gerald Edwards. “DeMarquise loved his family more than anything in this world and he was a very good child.”

One of the mothers tells the Houston Forward Times that she received the news about her son’s murder from one of his friends, and that no one from the Houston Police Department ever called her to inform her that her son had been killed.

“No one from HPD ever called me,” said Tanira Dean, mother of Terrell Paynes. “I would not want any parents to go through what any of us are going through right now.”

Angela Revis, mother of Kiara Jackson, remembered her daughter as a very outgoing young lady who loved life and loved people.

“I’m still numb missing my daughter, but I’m praying for whoever did this and I hope their mother never has to feel the pain I feel right now,” said Revis. “I want whoever did this to know that I’m not angry at them. I pray for them. I love them – but they need to do the right thing.”

Jackson’s father, Kwon Jackson, continues to grieve as well and wants answers to this tragedy involving his daughter stating, “We’re not gonna stop until we get justice.”

To solicit information and garner community support, Pastor E.A. Deckard of Green House International Church, held a press conference with the three mothers, where he called on anyone with information in the community to come forward and help get justice for and to help provide closure to the mothers of these murdered children.

“Today I stand with these three strong sisters seeking justice because I believe we all have a responsibility to keep our communities safe and lift up one another when we are down,” said Deckard. “Let’s learn to stand together so we can turn every tragedy into community transformation and unity.”

Deckard said he hopes that someone comes forward with information so as to prevent anyone who is seeking vengeance for the murders and wants anyone who might be afraid to come forward to come to him with any information.

“We will use this tragedy to bring this community back and restore the peace and hope that the next generation can live in the community we know as Greenspoint, not ‘Gunspoint’ as many would now call it,” said Deckard.

All three mothers stood in solidarity with Deckard in front of the Arbor Court apartment complex where their children lost their lives. They want the community to know that their children had goals and aspirations and were good young people who were taken away too soon.

Tanira Dean said her son leaves behind a two-year old child and a newborn baby that he never got a chance to see come into this world.

“My son will never get the chance to see the face of his newborn daughter,” said Tanira Dean. “His daughter will never know her father and nobody deserves to die like this. Injustice to anyone invites injustice to show up for everybody, so I’m begging you–if you know anything, please come forward because the longer they are out there, it means they can and probably will do this again.”

Angela Revis said all her friends loved her because she was a great hairstylist, but she says her daughter was also studying to become a pharmacy technician.

“All her friends loved her for doing hair, but she had so much more she planned to do,” said Revis. “My heart is so heavy right now because no parent should have to bury their child.”

Gerald Edwards said her son was in college working towards a career in the entertainment industry and that he was very close to his family–especially his younger brother.

“My son was always there for me,” said Gerald Edwards. “I’m so confused as to why all this happened, but I hope somebody that knows something will come forward and say something so that no one else will lose their lives.”

As you may know, ‘No Snitching’ is an unwritten rule used in various communities that strongly encourages people who may have useful information concerning various crimes to not report that information to the police, as it is deemed an act of support for law enforcement and disloyalty to the community. Many criminals use fear and intimidation tactics to enforce this phenomenon.

Pastor Deckard has asked anyone who might be afraid to share any information on this case, to please contact him at his church at (281) 209-9339. He says that he will get the information to the right place, or if you don’t feel comfortable contacting him and you have information, please call CrimeStoppers at (713) 521-4600 or visit www.crime-stoppers.org.

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Category: Courts and Justice, Crime & Safety, Local, National

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Frost Illustrated is Fort Wayne's oldest weekly newspaper. Your Independent Voice in the Community, featuring news & views of African Americans since 1968.

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