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Vigil marks first anniversary of Duquesne death

| Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, 5:06 a.m.
Patrick Cloonan | Daily News
Von Davis and family friend Tracey Lofton bring a placard memorializing Davis' nephew Charles 'Diamond' Davis to a vigil marking the first anniversary of the younger Davis' murder.
Patrick Cloonan | Daily News
Desiree Johnson hands out candles to Nikki Ausbrook, a cousin of Charles Davis whose own son was murdered earlier this year in Duquesne, and Marcia Pitts, an aunt of Charles Davis. In front of Ausbrook is her daughter Taniya Coleman. Ausbrook's son and Taniya's brother Tyrone was one of two men shot to death in Duquesne on May 6.
Patrick Cloonan | Daily News
Troy Akins sets up sound equipment for Monday's vigil honoring Charles Davis. The vigil happened along the block of Mehaffey Street in Duquesne where Davis' body was found after he was shot on Aug. 12, 2012.
Patrick Cloonan | Daily News
Kiara Sanders holds her 11-month-old son Jolon Davis, whose father Charles Davis was murdered one year ago Monday. A vigil was held to remember Davis, a former East Allegheny High School football player also known as 'Diamond.'
Patrick Cloonan | Daily News
Kiara Sanders holds her 11-month-old son Jolon Davis, whose father Charles Davis was murdered one year ago Monday. A vigil was held to remember Davis, a former East Allegheny High School football player also known as 'Diamond.'

A year after his slaying, and four months after his killer pleaded guilty, Charles “Diamond” Davis was remembered on Monday night by friends and relatives in Duquesne.

“We have a little one here who will never know his father,” Saeeda Ginn of Duquesne said about her grandson Jolon Davis, who was born a month after the murder to Kiara Sanders, Davis' girlfriend and Ginn's daughter.

“We have this hate in a community where everyone is family,” Von Davis said, as he arrived for a candlelight vigil he helped to arrange for his nephew.

On Aug. 12, 2012, the body of Charles Davis, 18, was found in the driveway of a home along the 600 block of Mehaffey Street. Along that same block on Monday night there was music and fellowship.

“I've known Diamond all of his life,” said Desiree Johnson, Von Davis' fiancée. “It just seems like that whole generation of young black men is being wiped out.”

On Dec. 3, 2012, Dewayne Gray, now 21, was arrested on criminal homicide charges in the death of Davis.

On April 15, Gray pleaded guilty before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Machen to murder in the third degree and other charges. He was sentenced to 31-62 years in state prison.

“We have no answers because this is a young man who grew up with my nephew,” Von Davis said. “(Gray's) mother and I are like brother and sister. When you look at this holistically, this is a crime that didn't have to happen.”

“It is unreal,” said Nikki Ausbrook, a cousin of Charles Davis and the mother of Tyrone Coleman, 18, who was shot to death on May 6. “I still don't believe my son is gone.”

On May 8, Michael Robinson, 26, of Duquesne turned himself in for the murders of Coleman and Lawrence Short, 29, of Clairton.

Robinson faces trial on Jan. 13, 2014, before Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos. A second suspect, Glenn Smith, 27, of Duquesne, remains at large.

What's the solution? Those at the vigil had several suggestions, including adults stepping in to be role models, as Von Davis said was the case when he was growing up.

“You are going to have to start mentoring them early,” Johnson said.

Davis said collaborative efforts are being set up involving McKeesport Area, Clairton, Steel Valley, East Allegheny and Duquesne City school districts.

Davis said laws have to be changed so that juveniles can't hide behind a court process not meant for those charged in adult crimes such as murder.

“We can no longer allow it,” Davis said. “If someone wishes to do an adult crime, he or she needs to be treated as an adult.”

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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