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A Family’s Struggle for Justice

A Family’s Struggle for Justice

Devin Dyer, an 18-year-old Austin resident, was shot to death at a party on March 6, 2011. His parents and uncle are still trying to piece together how he spent the last moments of his life nearly three years later. Sonya Burks, Devin’s mother, said she doesn’t feel any sense of urgency from the Chicago […]

Murder at Chicago family party leaves mother searching for answers

Steven Cannon’s death, like his life, was surrounded by chaos. When he was murdered, he was partying with a small group of lifelong family friends, but the evening ended with an alcohol-fueled brawl.  It’s been 8 months and his murder remains unsolved. A ‘typical’ murder In many ways the murder of Steven Cannon is typical […]

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Veronica Lewis son Korey Parker was murdered last summer, but the case remains unsolved

On a warm, sunny April afternoon, Veronica Lewis stands and stares at the spot where her 27-year-old son was murdered last year.“I know Korey isn’t the only one to be killed in Chicago,” she says. “But I just want answers to my questions.” Korey Parker was murdered July 4th last year. He had spent the […]

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Family still mourns 23-year-old who took bullet for cousin

Elizabeth Ramirez’s face shines as she looks at all her son’s sports trophies hanging on the wall in her North Side basement. She has gathered eight family members and friends on a Monday evening earlier this spring to watch videos of her son, Harry Rodriguez. He was killed Oct. 23, 2011 – a week before […]

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Homicides take toll on those who lay victims to rest

Large pictures of his two children, ages 6 and 9, sit on a table next to his desk. Although Spencer Leak Jr. enjoys looking at the images, he often lays them down on the table when customers come into his office – out of respect for their loss of a child sometimes not much older than […]

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Victim rights start with the arrest of a suspect

Someone has murdered your loved one, there are no suspects and soon the case goes cold. You’re not sure how to pay for the funeral, you have questions for investigators, and your family could benefit from counseling. What do you do? What rights do you have? Where do you turn? There’s little the state of […]

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When my mommy cried, I cried

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When my mommy cried, I cried

We had just walked in to our house with the mail when Mommy began sobbing uncontrollably. The letter she was reading congratulated my brother on his new summer job. But he was dead. My brother, Marlo Terry, was 21 when he was shot in the back after opening a bedroom door at a friend’s house. […]

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Giving up on justice

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Giving up on justice

Chiquita Davis is still haunted by the phone call she received Jan. 8, telling her the young man she had raised for nearly two decades was dead. Now, every time her cell phone rings, she fears it’s another call like that. 

But the one call she wants to get never seems to come – the one […]

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Families question support after loved ones’ killings

When Donna Howard’s 18-year-old son was shot to death more than a year and a half ago, she didn’t know where to turn for support. “We were exhausted, crying and speaking on Facebook,” says Howard. Her son Delvonta Porter was killed Oct. 24, 2011, in the South Shore neighborhood, just blocks from home. Howard found […]

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Unsolved homicide not forgotten

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Unsolved homicide not forgotten

More than a year after a 20-year-old Chicago man was killed, friends and family continue to update his memorial Facebook page. “R.I.P Joel Verdugo” has garnered 275 likes with posts that express the sadness, anger and grief his friends and family have experienced since his death. An unknown assailant shot Verdugo in the head March […]

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Final call to a friend

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Final call to a friend

Antanice “Niecy” Ward lets out a giggle when she remembers the funny faces her friend Soraya Gibson used to make when talking about people. “She was very silly, very goofy. She always had everyone laughing,” she says. As Ward sits in her cook’s apron in the Lake View High School cafeteria where she worked with […]

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Forgotten Dead Series

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Forgotten Dead Series

These stories on homicide victims and their families are part of a week-long series about homicides in Chicago. ChicagoTalks, a news outlet operated by Columbia College’s Journalism Department, undertook a semester-long investigation of the topic funded with a grant from The Chicago Community Trust.  The series of stories about families that have been the victims of […]

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Lonely anniversary

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Lonely anniversary

Mother’s Day was the one-year anniversary of Christopher Reeves’ death. His mother, Kimberly Reeves, marked the occasion by going to the store, buying a single white balloon and setting it free above her house in West Englewood – the same ritual she observed when her middle child missed his 22nd birthday in December. But aside […]

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Homicide victim’s mother sees progress in Englewood

Christopher Reeves’ younger brother Jermaine Reeves dedicated himself to “making Chris proud” after his brother’s killing. Kimberly Reeves says he’s excelling at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., but she’s nervous about summer break. “I just wish he could stay there at school. He’ll be home (in June), and he won’t go back until August, so […]

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Killer on the line

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Killer on the line

Carla Allen’s voice shakes as she recalls the brief conversation she had with her daughter’s killer. “He called and asked me for forgiveness,” says Allen. “He said, ‘That was my friend. I didn’t mean to hurt my friend.’” The call came two years ago, just days after the May 30, 2011, killing of her 16-year-old […]

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