Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Feeling a co-worker's hurt, tragic loss

I went looking for Aretha James, a Herald co-worker, on Tuesday.

I wanted to give her a hug.

It was the day after 19-year-old Daniel Williams had been sentenced to 25 years in prison for shooting and killing James's granddaughter, Jazmine Thompson, almost a year ago.

James's granddaughter was 17, a cheerleader at Bayshore High School.

The Bruins had played the Manatee Hurricanes at Hawkins Stadium that Friday night in the season opener, always a big deal in Manatee County high school football.

Not long after that game, Jazmine was dead, shot while riding with friends in east Bradenton.

An unfathomable tragedy.

That it should happen to one of our teenagers at the start of senior year, a special time for any high school student, was utterly senseless.

Then to find out it was Aretha's granddaughter, a girl she had helped daughter Raechelle raise, drove their hurt home.

We grieved as a community and honored Jazmine as best we could, trying to understand what had happened, and let justice take its course.

On Monday, Williams pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of manslaughter with a firearm.

He never apologized, either.

Jazmine Thompson paid the ultimate price, the public defender told the courtroom. Daniel Williams is going to pay a huge price.

How sad.

So I tried to find Aretha Tuesday.

She's on vacation, someone said.

That hug will have to wait.


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