Crime

Father of homicide victim: Gun violence is ‘destroying the beauty’ of Charlotte

Families of Charlotte homicide victims remember loved ones

In this 2017 video, families gathered at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters as part of CMPD's Victim Services group that helps families cope with their loss after a homicide. On Sept. 28, 2017, a 67th homicide victim was found in Charlotte.
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In this 2017 video, families gathered at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police headquarters as part of CMPD's Victim Services group that helps families cope with their loss after a homicide. On Sept. 28, 2017, a 67th homicide victim was found in Charlotte.

June Sherwood talked through her tears as long as she could.

She told a Mecklenburg County courtroom how she worked for more than two decades to raise her son, Javon Daniel Alim Sherwood, to be a good man.

She stayed home with him. She took him to church. She wouldn’t even let her children spend time around people who smoked cigarettes.

Javon Sherwood was shot and killed in northeast Charlotte on Dec. 1, nine days before he would have turned 22.

After speaking for several minutes and clinging to both her husband Herman and prosecutor Kimberly Gardner for support, June Sherwood was led out of the courtroom.

She was gasping for air, sobbing too hard to talk.

“She’s grieving very much,” Herman Sherwood told Superior Court Judge Lisa Bell. “Please excuse her. That’s the love she had for her son.”

Two of the three men originally charged with Javon’s murder — 19-year-old Keith Bryson Powell and 23-year-old Khalil Dante Capers — appeared in court Thursday morning. The alleged ringleader, 25-year-old Yocouba Meite, is expected to appear in June.

Powell had a bond hearing and was eventually told he could go on 24-hour house arrest in his mother’s Guilford County home if he made his $200,000 bond. His lawyer described him as a conscientious UNC Charlotte student who thought he was getting involved in a marijuana deal, not a homicide. He was still in the Mecklenburg County Jail on Thursday afternoon, according to jail records.

Capers pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The assault conviction relates to another victim from the same incident in which Sherwood was killed, Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office spokesperson Meghan McDonald said.

Capers, who has been in jail since December, was sentenced to 20 to 36 months in prison, but according to the terms of his guilty plea, he won’t serve any prison time if he completes 36 months of probation.

In addition to sharing how Javon’s death has affected his family, Herman Sherwood spoke out against gun violence in general.

“It’s destroying the beauty of a city called Charlotte,” he said. Javon was one of 57 people killed in the city in 2018. So far in 2019, 50 people have been killed. The majority of the victims are killed with guns.

Herman Sherwood was clearly emotional in court, yet he managed to share details about his son’s life.

Javon graduated early from Ardrey Kell and attended Central Piedmont Community College, where he studied until he was killed, his father said.

He worked hard, getting a job while he was in high school “so he could take the burden off of us,” his father said.

Some of his friends had single mothers who worked a lot, Herman Sherwood said. Javon did everything he could to take care of them.

“He would say ‘Dad, so and so’s coming over, can you make sure the house has food to feed my friends?’” his father said. The grocery requests would be specific depending on the friend’s favorite foods, Herman Sherwood remembered.

Sherwood said he knew his son was not selfish – he looked after his mother, brought her gifts, was a good friend – but he said he didn’t know the full extent of Javon’s generosity until after his death.

“His friends still call, they still come by the house,” his father said. Through them, his parents have learned how Javon would buy whole pizzas, more than he could eat, so he could share.

Both parents said the people who killed their son should be punished. His father asked for “no get-out-of-jail-free cards” for the people involved.

Six months after Javon died, his family is still processing the fact that they can’t pick up the phone and call him or visit him, his father said.

“He is gone,” his father said. “He is not here anymore.”

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