Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Patricide

Son Faces Charges in Death of Father.
The Plain Dealer headlines announced the holiday weekend murder of a man in Lorain, and the confession of his 15 year old son to the shooting. The rest of the article told little else but the neighbor's opinions that the deceased was an upstanding member of the community, and by all accounts a good father. Very religious.

Not surprisingly, the immediate family had no comment. What a nightmare for them to be going through.

Murder is a crime that can never, and will never be forgotten.
Everyone associated with the incident becomes a victim, in some way, for life.

__________________

A few years ago I took notice of a very intense young man as he walked past my classroom each day. Jimmy was tall and heavyset. Bigger than most of the other students in the building. He would hurry through the hallways, eyes cast down toward the tile floor, never a smile.
One day, shortly after the bell rang, signaling the end of the class period, he popped his head in my classroom door. He was looking for a girl named Christy. She turned to me and mouthed the words,"That's my boyfriend!" as she walked to were Jimmy was waiting. I didn't think much about the new romance until the next day at lunch, in the faculty lounge.

One of my colleagues had also noticed the schools newest couple, and mused aloud,
"I wonder if Christy's father knows about Jimmy?"

Everyone knew Christy's father. He was a tough Cleveland cop, occasionally arriving at the high school in his uniform to pick up his daughter after school. He was strict with his daughter, and had been known to bawl her out in public on report card pick up days for grades that were below his expectations.

"What about Jimmy?" I asked.
"Don't you know?" He seemed incredulous. "Jimmy killed his father...beat him to death."
"What?"
"Yeah, a couple of years ago. He did some time in the D.H., but apparently he'd been abused...It was self defense."

Oh boy! Part of me wished I hadn't heard that.
From that day on I couln't look at the young man without hearing the phrase repeating like a scratched LP

"...killed his father...beat him to death...killed his father...beat him to death..."

Whether or not Christy's dad ever found out about Jimmy and/or his past I never knew. What I did know was this, Jimmy was becoming very devoted to Christy, and he began stopping by the art studio to visit with her when she stayed after class to work. Jimmy was one of the most polite boys I ever had the pleasure of meeting. He would always go out of his way to say hello, he would hold open doors, and he would always offer to help me carry books, bags, or boxes. The two of them remained a couple until after graduation.

But...as likable as the young man was, still, the voice of accusation would continue in my mind, and I would feel guilty that I could not control the persistent refrain.


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