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âWhy Did They Kill My Son?â<br />

‘Why Did They Kill My Son?’

Fathers of Chicago murder victims speak on grieving and working to save the lives of others

Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean

by Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean, June 24, 2013

[ENOUGH]<br />
âWhy Did They Kill My Son?â<br />

Lawrenstein Walls Sr

L. Smith, who died in January 2013 through a severe car accident on Chicago's South Side.

“It is hard, actually, I am from the streets, so I was thinking all types of deviant things about what I want to do about my daughter's murder, but through family and friends talking to me, keeping me in check and to keep my cool, keeping my sanity, this is how I dealt with it, and am able to stay peaceful,” says Asphy.

“The police took people like Don Dirk and these types of cats...the leaders away, the people who were respected, and now you have mayhem. Now [what we have] is cliques, they have no rules and regulations. They talk how they want to talk, act how they want to act, walk how they want to walk, that's what they do.  The young guys do not have anyone controlling them, not in the house, or out of the house. So to stop the madness and all this violence, we need to bring love, order, and responsibility back in the homes, and effective leadership for youth to follow in the community.

Asphy claims that he and other older members of street organizations in Chicago are willing to play active roles to implement that strategy for positive change.  

Lawrencestein Walls, Jr. was 22 when he was murdered on Chicago's South Side in April of 2011. “There were a lot of emotions that I felt, from sadness to anger, wanting to do something, but not knowing what to do” recalls his father, Lawrencestein Walls, Sr. who spent Father's Day 2013 remembering his son, and still hoping for justice to be served against his killer(s).

“Being a father, my belief, which came from other men, not my father, is that my job was to protect my children, at all costs; give them good counsel, guidance. So as a father, the first thing I thought about was who is that person who took my son's life...whether [my son] called on me when he noticed he was going to die; I felt defeated in some aspects that I was not there to protect him...a lot of 'what ifs.' Was there something else I could have done to guide him the right way?"

Walls spends a lot of time agonizing over the details of the crime: “I would like to know why did they kill my son...As a father and person of the street, I understand what my son was into, I think he made some enemies, ...My belief is that they double crossed him, robbed him, and killed him. I am hearing that on the streets.”

"Because I really don't know who really did this to my son, I sometimes think if I have had a conversation with someone who was involved with this."

He also feels that the Chicago Police have done little to bring the killers to justice. “Even today, I do not think they gave as much attention to my son's investigation as they did with other cases.”

“As a father, it is never settled. In my case, [my son's] daughter was born 4 months after he was murdered. She is a young lady who has to be raised by her mother, and will never know her father...physically. That is a tragedy. Now instead of me taking on the role of a grandfather, it is like I have to be a father. No one knows how this feels. Even to this day, the impact of my son is still very hard on me. It has gotten better, but I think about it every day."

Like other fathers for whom justice has not been served Mr. Walls makes an appeal: “My son's life is just as important to me as any other murdered child in Chicago or abroad, and I want the same justice that has been given to high profile cases, for my son, and other parents awaiting justice.”

The fathers interviewed in this article and here will be among those participating in a workshop series conducted by the author entitled "Responsible Fatherhood and Community Peace" beginning June 27th 2013 in the University Library at Chicago State University.

Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean is the Executive Director and Founder of Peaceful World Movement, an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Governors State University and University at Buffalo Department of Sociology, and CEO of Quality of Life Solutions, Chicago. He is also the author of Pockets of Crime: Broken Windows, Collective Efficacy and the Criminal Point of View.

More great reads from Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean

Chicago Youth Talk Trayvon

by Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean

[ENOUGH] Fathers of Murder Victims Speak

by Dr. Peter K. B. St. Jean

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