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"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stupid and Horrible Way to Die of the Day. (Part One)

WCMH: Schoolboy Fight Leads To Death For Student's Father

The plan was simple: invite families feuding over problems between their fifth-grade sons to counseling sessions at different times.

When the first family took longer to leave school than anticipated, the plan went awry. Running into each other in the parking lot, the father of one boy and the boyfriend of the other boy's mother argued, then fought briefly.

Police say the father, 29-year-old Franklin Jude, was struck in the face and fell, hitting his head on the pavement. He died five days later and was buried Monday.

"Frank went down on the pavement and smacked his head really, really hard," said Joanie Parsley, the mother of another student at West Broad Elementary School.
"Frank didn't even have time to flinch -- that's how fast it was."

Franklin County Coroner Brad Lewis ruled Jude's death a homicide, but no charges have been filed. The case is under investigation, and a grand jury will hear evidence in the next few weeks.

Attorney Steven Larson says the boyfriend, Grant Reese, 23, was defending himself and gave police his shirt covered with his own blood to prove he was hit.

"As soon as he was hit in the nose he struck the fellow in the jaw which caused him to fall over," Larson said. "He said it was instantaneous -- 'I got hit, I hit back."'

Events leading to the Oct. 10 fight began the day before outside the school on the city's west side.

Witnesses say the two men had words after school let out, upset because one of the boys pushed the other. The school principal intervened, the police were called and meetings were set up for the following morning.

Violence is not uncommon in the area, a neighborhood of century-old homes struggling with poverty and drug abuse. A social worker was stabbed to death by a client in 2001 just a few houses away from the school. Last summer a 14-year-old boy was shot to death by a driver upset that his car had been egged.

On Oct. 10, Jude and his fiancee, Jhonda Phillips, arrived at the school for their 8:30 a.m. meeting with principal Peter Kurty.

A meeting with Reese and Star Caulley, the mother of the other fifth-grader, Kyler, was scheduled for about an hour later.

District spokesman Jeff Warner said the principal was careful to set up separate appointments because problems between the families over the boys and alleged bullying between them dated back to last year.

His meeting over, Jude waited in the parking lot with Phillips' brother, William Reed, while Phillips went back inside to give their son, Wesley, his lunch money, Parsley said.

Caulley and her boyfriend arrived in a van along with several of Caulley's other children.

What happened next is what police must figure out.

Parsley says Jude and the boyfriend began arguing and looked like they were going to start fighting. Before anything happened, the two calmed down.

Then, as the two men walked between their cars, Reese hit Jude in the face, Parsley said.

Larson says it happened the other way around and that Reese was rushed by Jude and others almost as soon as he pulled up in the van.

Reese was arrested the day of the fight on unrelated charges of burglary and possession of criminal tools. He was freed Thursday on a $25,000 bond. Larson is representing him only on the burglary charge but said he had talked to his client about the fight.

School starts at 9:30 a.m. and several children were around when the fight happened. Police and school officials said the adults should have done something to keep violence away from the schoolhouse.

"What kind of example are we setting when we fight in front of kids?" said Sgt. Rich Weiner, a Columbus police spokesman.

Jude worked in a warehouse and did construction, painting and other odd jobs. He and Phillips also had an 8-year-old daughter, Kaylie.

"He was a great guy. Just loved his family, loved doing stuff with his kids on the weekends and just worked during the week," said next-door neighbor Rob Hernandez, 40, a construction worker. "Just a regular kind of guy."

Wesley's grandmother, Gayle Gates, said the family disagrees with Reese's version of events and says Jude never had a chance to hit Reese.

"We want justice because my son-in-law was killed," Gates, 58, said Tuesday.

Parsley, 32, said Wesley hasn't been back to school since the fight. She said he made a brief phone call to her son, Justin; the two are best friends.

"He just wanted to know from my son, 'Did you watch the news because my daddy's dead,"' Parsley said.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yep, very stupid. I look forward to charges being filed against the "boyfriend" soon. I knew Frank when we were teens. He was a great guy...

About Me

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.

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