Friday, September 22, 2000

Neighbors, friends mourn for slain teen-ager

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        While Cincinnati homicide detectives investigate the motive for a Wednesday slaying in Evanston, neighbors and friends of the dead teen-ager mourned.

        Just after 3 p.m. Thursday, parents met their children at school bus stops near Clarion Avenue, where 16-year-old Jerome Butler was stabbed to death early Wednesday.

        Some held their children close. Other older children gathered on street corners and hugged one another.

        Jerome lived on Rutland Avenue, one block over, in a rough neighborhood sandwiched be tween Norwood and Interstate 71.

        He was the third homicide victim in Evanston this year, and the second person slain on Clarion Avenue in the past 14 months.

        “He was just a typical kid,” said Mattie Brown, a neighbor who lives across the street from the house where the youth died. “I thought it was just teen-age stuff. I was quite shocked.”

        Ms. Brown remembered Jerome standing at the bus stop with her daughter when the two went to Hyde Park Elementary School.

        “It just hurts me so bad because they're just kids,” she said. “His life hadn't even begun.”

        Friends say Jerome was a junior at nearby Withrow High School. He was a quiet student who loved to play baseball. Many on the street corner, reluctant to talk to media, talked among themselves about how the boy died.

        Police have charged Norman Sanders, 24, and Pamela Denise Reed, 28, both of Clarion Avenue, with murder in the stabbing death of the boy.

        Officials say Jerome had stab wounds in his chest and neck. They have released no other details about the crime, except that neighbors found the teen about 8 a.m. Wednesday in the side yard of a Clarion Avenue home.

        Neighbors talked among themselves Thursday about how the neighborhood is going down hill.

        Ever since the city put cameras in the “Five Points” area of Montgomery Road, Woodburn Avenue and Hewitt Avenue in Evanston, many loiterers have moved blocks away, closer to residential neighborhoods. A 29-year-old woman was killed in July 1999 on the same block of Clarion Avenue; her husband was later arrested.

        “It's getting worse here every day, and I'm disappointed in that,” said Ms. Brown, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years.

       Anyone with information concerning Jerome Butler's death should call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040 or the homicide unit at 352-3542.


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