Sat | Nov 18, 2017

A mother's pain - Daughter killed weeks after her brother

Published:Monday | November 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

Two weeks ago, Doris Graham* buried her son, whose life was snuffed out by a gunman's bullet just over a month ago.

Now, the mother of two is planning the funeral of her other child, Toni Ann Murray, whose life was also cut short by a gunman's bullet.

Amid the fear that her family may be targeted, Graham was inconsolable yesterday as she tried to make sense of the tragedy.

"Me just bury one two weeks ago ... two months ... the two a dem," she mumbled before breaking down in tears.

Graham revealed, too, that up to mid-afternoon yesterday, nervous family members were trying to determine how they should break the news to Murray's four-year-old daughter, who was at that time still waiting for her mother to comb her hair.

"We haven't told her yet [that her mother is dead]. As young as she is, she knew that Damone [her uncle] died and that she would not be seeing him again. It's hard to tell her now that she won't be seeing her mother again," she said.

The police report that Murray, who was employed as a cashier at the Jamaica Observer newspaper, was shot several times by armed thugs as she sat in her car outside the Meadowbrook Estate Community Centre, metres from her home.

Moments later, according to the police, the thugs turned their weapons on 21-year-old George Phillips, who was sitting on a makeshift stool near the entrance to the community centre. The criminals then escaped in a waiting motor car.

Murray, 31, and Phillips were pronounced dead at hospital.

Graham said that based on the police report of how her daughter died, it was clear that she was targeted. "Based on the killing, it's obvious it was her ... it seem so," she reasoned.

Senior investigators from the St Andrew South Police Division, who were at the crime scene yesterday searching for evidence, told The Gleaner that it was too early to determine whether Murray's death was related to the killing of her brother.

Graham revealed that she was inside her home shortly after 8 o'clock on Saturday evening when she heard loud explosions. She said that she immediately called her daughter's mobile phone but got no response.

"So I sent her a text [message] to say be careful when you coming in because I heard a lot of shots outside, and I don't know what it is or what is happening out there, only to know that it was her," she recounted.

Since the start of the year, more than 1,360 persons have been reported murdered, with six weeks still remaining before year end. This is more than the 1,350 persons reported killed all of last year.

Name changed on request*

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com