Helena Gudell’s WONDERLAND: Innocence Lost

ILInnocence Lost

On April 19, 2000 in Alexandria, Virginia 8yr old Kevin Shifflett was stabbed 18 times by Gregory D Murphy while he was sitting outside playing on the sidewalk with other kids. Besides the horrific nature of the crime there are more details to this story. I have been posting these hate crimes trying to highlight the hatred that runs rampant in society but this one of course hit me hard because I have an 8yr old child. But its not just the age of the little boy that died… its the fact that it was a child in general. 

As a parent you can never imagine losing your child. The mere thought of something happeningIL(1) to your flesh and blood hits you in a way that you can’t describe. But to have it happen over something so senseless as race is just unimaginable. A disease gives you a fighting chance. You know what you’re up against, you go to the Dr and they give you odds and they give you time. But to have some stranger come and attack your child while yelling racial slurs at him as he plays outside is something that no one can comprehend. And that is exactly what faced the family and friends of Kevin that day when a black man walked up to him wielding a knife and yelling racial slurs against the white child. Two adults tried to help Kevin and also suffered injury but the child was the only casualty. He suffered from a slit to the throat among other wounds. The assailant who was unknown to the family then got into a cab and left. Within a few months the offender was found IL(2)and matched by DNA from the cab and tied to the murder. In his hotel room they found anti-white hate letters saying that he wanted to kill all the white children. The stabbing of Kevin Shifflett occurred just 12 days after he had been released from jail on other charges. To this day Gregory Murphy has been declared incompetent every 6 months and has yet to stand trial in his capital case. Most likely he will never be brought to justice for his crime and Kevin and his family will never have peace. There was a law at the time of the murder that would make it mandatory that the state drop charges if the defendant wasn’t found competent after a certain number of years. In 2003 because of this case a new law was drafted and passed to make it so there is no limit to find competency in a defendant.

On October 16,1998 Tiffany Long went missing She was found the next day behind a IL(7)neighborhood house. Ok before I go into details about this crime you will not find anywhere on the web in initial searches that this was a hate crime. You won’t find it because the reports have been censored. I have mixed feelings about that. Do I want to believe that 3 teens are capable before the age of 18 of brutally raping, assaulting, and murdering a 10yr old in a hate crime? No I don’t want to believe that but in fact that is what happened. I am a bit angered at the fact that later instead of calling it what it was the parents and family of the offenders said that they were all suffering from slight mental retardation (never proven or documented) and the state didn’t want to say anything that would be “insensitive”. So lets get down to the nitty gritty of the crime and we will see what comes up.

IL(3)4:30pm on Oct 16,98 was the last time Tiffany had been seen. Witnesses say she had been seen with Joseph Jones around the neighborhood. Her grandmother reported her missing at 8:20 to police. They searched the neighborhood and at 2:45am they found the crime scene inside the residence where at least one of the suspects used to live. The body was found outside the residence in a pool of blood behind the garage covered with a blanket. Inside the residence police found in one of the bedrooms there was a large amount of blood and appeared that her body had been dragged through the house to the back. She had been hit in the head with a board (though news reports later tried to say she wasn’t the affidavit stated she was), she was strangled with a coaxial cable cord while being raped, then beaten to death with a metal bed rail. The house was locked up so the only way they could have gotten in was to have a key or known how to get in and out IL(5)without one. So just a few hours after the discovery of the body, the police made contact with the suspects at their new residence which is only a couple miles away from the crime scene from which they only moved 3 weeks prior. On Oct 21, 98 the day after Tiffany Long’s funeral Dorthia Bynumb (17), her boyfriend Harold Jones (16), and his nephew Joseph Jones (13) were arrested and charged with first degree murder, first degree kidnapping, and first degree sexual assault. The state contemplated going after Dorthia with the death penalty since she was the only one old enough, in the end she ended up taking a plea deal and testified against her boyfriend and his nephew. Joseph Jones was charged as an adult due to the severity of the crime. The reason for murdering someone they used to pass by every day was because Dorthia found out the little girl had a crush on her boyfriend. Police found out that Tiffany had written a love letter to Harold and that was the reason Dorthia ordered them to bring her to their old house. The original plan was to scare her and teach her a lesson that white girls don’t belong with black boys but things got out of control and she ended up dead. The state’s attorney did not want the IL(6)race part of the case released to the public and eventually stated that race played no part because it was a sensitive subject and would cause issues in a diverse neighborhood. Dorthia took a plea deal and will serve 124yrs for her crime so the state won’t seek the death penalty. She had to testify against her boyfriend and his nephew and they will serve the rest of their lives in prison. As I said before, their families tried to say all 3 of them suffered from mild retardation but were found competent through doctors to stand trial. There was no mental disease or defect found. It was a ploy used by their families to say that they were incapable of committing such a heinous act.

Hate is hate no matter what your age or color. It is a tragedy that our kids are paying for the mistakes brought on by the ignorance of ancestors hundreds of years ago. But our ancestors did not fight for freedom and equality for us to take it as entitlement and destroy people just IL(4)because. And it shouldn’t be swept under the rug just because people are worried about what the reaction is going to be. Prosecutors have no problems labeling a hate crime when someone of another nationality kills someone, or when a white person kills someone of another race, but when someone of another race kills a white person its “too sensitive” to be called what it is. In the case in VA there is no hate crime statute to charge the offender with anyways but they outlaw radar detectors and have airplanes that monitor speeders. I think maybe they need to get their priorities in order. Its a shame that there will never be justice for a child who was murdered simply for being different. Where is Al Sharpton at for the march for this child? The fact of the matter is there is only a request for justice when its one way. There is only a request for equality and a demand for reform when it is beneficial for some. There are no marches in VA or NC for these children who were killed for the color of their skin. Instead there is hardly any news of it at all. I had to dig for news of it. Not because it doesn’t happen because it does. But because it isn’t covered. Media doesn’t want to touch it because it is too sensitive. It will cause too much outrage. Say what you want but if the media were to cover a crime saying a black person killed a white person in a hate crime the black community would throw a fit. Al Sharpton would be on TV screaming about inequality and the KKK and the death of Emmett Till and Medgar Evers. Yes I agree those deaths were tragic and those deaths were terrible and those men did not deserve to imagesdie. But that does NOT give people the right to get away with hate crimes today. That is NOT an excuse for what is happening in the world now. There were more recent stories than the ones I chose to write about in this article, I just chose the ones that have the most impact. There are of course the Summerfest riot in Milwaukee, WI where black people were pulling white people out of their cars and beating them, there was the case where a white man was beaten by 4 black men in Milwaukee so badly that his only escape was to try to swim away in Lake Michigan where he drowned to death, in Massachusetts 4 black men decided to murder the next white person they saw who happened to be a student at Boston college. There is actually a list of hate crimes against whites that went fairly under reported. Some of them were mild some of them were heinous. But the fact remains it goes both ways. When hate is in your heart all innocence is lost.

As always, if you would like to be featured in our Q&A sessions with Helena, feel free to contact her with your questions or opinions on the featured stories via email at Wonderlandbce@gmail.com and follow me on twitter @WonderlandBCE. In the meantime, you can still make your way down our warped rabbit hole into Helena Gudell’s WONDERLAND every Mondays & Wednesday exclusively on Brewcityexpress.com.


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