Since I first blogged about grieving mother Taloni Stuart Lee’s inspiring vigil outside the headquarters of the Knoxville (TN) Police Department, I’ve had a number of readers email me to ask whether there have been any developments in her son’s case. Today, I found out that here has just been an important break in the criminal investigation.As I wrote in my first post about Ms. Lee, she is a mother in my hometown who lost her teenage son to gun violence as he walked home from football practice on August 10, 2010. After months passed, Ms. Stuart came to believe that the way her son’s case was being handled by law enforcement was part of a larger pattern of discrimination against crime victims from the “bad” side of town. So Ms. Lee decided she had to take action. She began a regular vigil outside Knoxville Police Department Headquarters. Almost every day, she would stand outside the building, rain or shine, carrying a sign drawing attention to her concerns.
In mid-March of this year, local media took notice of Ms. Stuart’s lonely vigil, and thus, of the fact that the investigation into a the murder of a Knoxville high school student remained open, and mostly undiscussed.
Shortly after her son’s death, Ms. Lee told a reporter that although she didn’t yet know who had taken her child from her, she had already forgiven that person. This is one more reason why I find Taloni Stuart Lee to be such an inspiration.
This week, an arrest in the case was finally announced. Another teenage boy has been charged with First Degree Murder. Based on the interviews I’ve read with Ms. Lee, I feel certain that she would agree with me that the fact that this teenager will now likely spend his life behind bars represents its own kind of tragedy for that boy, and for his own mother.
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