Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Mother's love outlasts son's coma, death




The Associated Press

        CLEVELAND — For 14 years, Sharon Watts-Crawford prayed that her son's coma would end. What she wanted most was a kiss.

        “It's something real little that most people take for granted,” she said. “I could always kiss him, but I wouldn't get a kiss back.”

        William Watts was 15 when he was shot in 1987 while on his way home from suburban Randall Park Mall.

        He finally died July 13 at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Cuyahoga County Coroner Elizabeth Balraj ruled his death a homicide.

        The Cuyahoga County prosecutor is deciding whether to seek a murder charge, said spokeswoman Kim Kowalski.

        Ms. Watts-Crawford remembers the last time her son kissed her. It was March 13, 1987. She was teaching him how to dance.

        The next day, he went to the mall to buy a sweat shirt. He had the sweat shirt in his hand when he was shot.

        Thurman Pryor, 16, a boy he had never met, apparently had targeted one of William's friends because of a fight a few days earlier that had nothing directly to do with William. Mr. Pryor fired several shots, one hitting William in the back of the head. No one else was hurt.

        Mr. Pryor has been in Mansfield Correctional Institution since 1988, where he is serving a 25-year sentence for attempted murder. He is eligible for parole in August 2002.

        “I don't know what a person gets for taking another person's life,” Ms. Watts-Crawford said. “It should be life.”

        After the shooting, doctors did not think William would make it, but Ms. Watts-Crawford was sure her son would live. When doctors suggested that William be taken off the ventilator, Ms. Watts-Crawford refused.

        “You get a mother's intuition,” she said. “There was no way that I felt I was losing him.”

        William began breathing on his own a month later.

        She visited her son nearly every day at the different hospitals and nursing homes. She brought him home for three years in the early 1990s, but his condition worsened, requiring more care.

       



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- Mother's love outlasts son's coma, death