Grandmother of Murdered Victim Jack Lawrence Speaks Up
On March 15, 2006 Ada Jefferson stood over her sink washing her hair. Her phone rang. Ada recalls looking at the phone and wondering why her friend was calling in the middle of the afternoon.
Ada remembers saying to herself, "she should be at work. I wonder why she’s calling?" She could have kept washing her hair and returned the call when she was finished but she felt a strong urge to immediately answer the call.
Ada remembers four years ago as if it was yesterday. She begins to state everything that occurred. "I answered the phone. My friend said Jack’s been shot." I replied, ‘Jack who?"
In her mind she was trying to think of all the people she knew name Jack. The last person to come to her mind was her 18yr-old grandson. The last person she thought would be shot was her grandson Jack.
The caller said, ‘Your grandson Jack has been shot." Ada stated in disbelief, ‘He just left. I just dropped him off and returned home and started washing my hair"
She ran for her keys and ran out the house with her hair soak and wet.
Ada drove pass the Evergreen Shopping Complex where she dropped Jack off. She saw yellow police crime scene tape, multiple police cars and a crowd gathering. Her daughter called her cell phone and informed her Jack was being taken to UC Davis Hospital.
Ada says she didn’t focus on the crime scene she kept driving rushing to UC Davis Hospital, ‘My mind was only on getting to the hospital," Ada states. She arrived to UC Davis Medical Center and was told her grandson had died on arrival.
Jack was shot and killed on March 15, 2006 from a gunshot wound to the chest.
A rumor has recently surfaced that on the anniversary of Jack’s death another youth dies.
March 17, 2010, Marque Alexander Johnson, who would have been 13yrs old when Jack Lawrence was killed, left his home headed to school. 17yr-old Marque Johnson was shot and killed a block from where 18yr-old Jack Lawrence was shot and killed four years prior.
A 20yr-old youth, Ceron Hill, was arrested at 22yrs-old he was convicted for the death of Jack Lawrence. Hill received 25yrs to Life for 1st degree murder. Hill was also given an enhancement sentence with an additional 25yrs for shooting someone and inflicting Great Bodily injury or death and two additional years for being an ex-con with a gun.
In a previous Sacramento Press article Bridgitt Osby mother of 17yr-old slain victim Marque Johnson, states, "The story in our case is that a group of young men were mourning the loss of their friend from three years ago. They decided to get revenge on the first brother they came across, and they came across Marque. He would be alive today if those disturbed individuals would have received some type of help when they had to deal with their tragedy"
18yr-old Jack Lawrence funeral was filled to capacity. Youth filled the hallway and the street outside the funeral home.
17yr-old Marque Johnson’s funeral was filled to capacity. Youth mourned throughout the church, the hallway and outside in the parking lot.
68yr old Ada Jefferson is shocked, outraged and heart-broken to learn of the rumor that someone would take the life of another youth and say they are doing so for her grandson.
‘The person responsible for taking my grandson’s life is sentenced. He was given 52 years. He’s not getting out of prison. Why would someone shoot someone else and say they are doing it for Jack?" says Ada. ‘
Ada had not heard of the rumor before today and does not condone violence. A powerful voice leaves her small framed body as she firmly states, "Why would they shoot someone who had nothing to do with Jack’s death. Why would they shoot someone period? It makes my stomach quiver and my heart hurt. It makes me sick. If they want to shoot someone they should join the service go to Afghanistan. Be productive not destructive."
Ada opens her cell phone and shows a picture saved on the front screen of her phone. ‘I open my phone and I see Jack. I will never get over the death of my grandson. It will be with me the rest of my life."
She sadly looks away as if her mind is reflecting on all the memories of her grandson. "I see a young man walking down the street and I say he reminds me of Jack. I miss my grandson. I loved my grandson. My grandson loved everyone. I didn’t know how many people loved my grandson until I took him to a party and he got out the car and everyone was running to him. I had no idea Jack knew so many people. His funeral was standing room only with people outside who couldn’t get in."
Ada adds with a strong voice, "This violence has to stop. What purpose does it serve to have another Black young man killed? It doesn’t serve any purpose; it just makes more turmoil in the community. It brews hatred. I don’t know who is doing this. They can’t really be a friend of Jack’s. Jack wasn’t a promoter of violence. Jack was a peacemaker."
Jack’s family and friends still deeply mourn his passing. Jack has been gone four years. Ada has a picture of Jack over her fireplace. Her 2 yr-old granddaughter walks in the room looks at the picture and says, ‘That’s Jack." Ada states, "Yes, that’s Jack" Ada says she talks to her granddaughter about Jack. She doesn’t let his memory die.
Jack lived with his grandmother since he was one month old. Ada states, ‘ I raised Jack. Jack was raised to help people when he could and not do them any harm. You have a right to self defense but these things that are happening is not self-defense."
When asked what she would like to tell the family of Marque Alexander, Ada replies, ‘My heart aches for your loss. Nobody has the right to take a life. It should be on God’s hands not ours to take a life. Everyone should be teaching their kids that. I don’t know any of Jack’s true friends who would do this. My heart hurts for your family. Everybody is somebody’s child. I try to help people whenever I can. It doesn’t hurt to help somebody. I raised Jack the same way. Jack would not want anyone to die. I am so sorry for your loss."
Ada wants to send a message to the youth. She cries out, ‘Think about what you are doing. Please Stop. How would you feel if someone killed your relative someone you love? So many people are going to hurt. Is this how we want to live? Everybody has a right to peace of mind, safety and civilization. Concentrate on how to help each other. If you are not part of the solution then you are the part of the problem. Please be a problem solver."
With a firm voice she asks, ‘Where are all these guns coming from?"
When asked what she would like to see come from the death of her grandson she replies, ‘Not death. I would not want to see anyone else die. I would want to see life come from Jack’s death. I want the young people to live. I wish we could start a forum, some sort of Stop the Violence Committee to brainstorm and find solutions."
When asked if there is anything else she would like to add. Ada replies, ‘My grandson is Jack Maurice Lawrence. He was born Jack Maurice Lawrence and he died Jack Maurice Lawrence. He was not Jack the Smack. I don’t appreciate anyone taking a life or saying they want to take a life on behalf of my grandson. I don’t appreciate it at all. Jack was a lovable person. I taught him this way. He didn’t misuse anyone or take advantage of anybody. That’s why so many people were there and so many loved him."
Ada takes a deep breath and states, ‘My grandson wasn’t arrested, wanted or even suspected for any crime before he died. How dare anyone commit a crime, or say they would commit a crime, murder of all things, and say they are dong it for my grandson. A friend wouldn’t make Jack a suspect now or hurt his family like this. One friend came over to clean my gutters and no one who loved Jack would take someone else life."
Ada Jefferson catches her breath again and with power she states, ‘Only God has the right to take a life."