The family of Marquise Byrd is mourning his tragic loss after a group of four teenagers dropped a sandbag from a freeway overpass onto the vehicle he was traveling in.
As they prepare for a series of court cases to come, his family say they would still like a phone call. "I would appreciate if [the boys' parents] could at least call my auntie and tell her they're sorry,” said Mr. Byrd's cousin, Shaveontae King."
Toledo police filed murder charges against Pedro Salinas 13, Sean Carter 14, Demetrius Wimberly, 14, and William Parker, 15, all are accused of killing Byrd when they dropped a sandbag onto I-75.
An autopsy on the 22-year-old Byrd revealed he died of blunt-force trauma to the head and neck. Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center pronounced him dead at 8:57 p.m. Friday according to the Lucas County Coroner's Office.
The murder took place while Byrd, who is engaged and had a 1-year-old son, was traveling to meet friends in Toledo. A friend described Byrd saying he was "Young, energetic, outgoing, lovable. He had a bright smile."
Officers arrived at the scene around 10:10 p.m. December 19 at the Indiana Avenue bridge over I-75 where they found a sandbag had smashed through the windshield of the vehicle Byrd was a passenger in.
Police say the group of teens who killed Byrd were throwing objects off the overpass and were sighted by officers leaving the area afterward.
Ms. King, a friend of Byrd, says she has no sympathy for the teens since they know right from wrong and wants them charged as adults.
"My auntie has to bury her son. He's gone. He's never coming back," King said. "She's holding up the best she can."
The deputy chief of the county prosecutor's juvenile division, Lori Olender, said she is not seeking to transfer the juveniles cases to adult jurisdiction since she did not wish to put the Byrd family through a court case with no chance of success.
"These kids have almost no record," Olender said. She cited a case from December 2016 where a 14-year-old girl deliberately shot and killed her brother but she did not stand trial as an adult.
Ohio law allows children as young as 14 to stand trial as adults, but those younger than 16 are discretionary transfers so what this amounts to is a cop out from the prosecutor's office.
Prosecutor's like their records and if they don't think they can win a case for sure they won't take the chance to keep their perfect shiny record. Hopefully, justice is served.
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