Rest in Peace - Photos Used are Only to Pay Respect to those no longer with us

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Case Closed: Murder of Kempton Howard

The 24 year old that took Kempton Howard's life now regrets what he has done and admitted to that awful mistake. Aslyn Walker read a letter in court apoligizing for his actions.

Kempton Howard was killed December 13, 2003 by a youth that he oversaw at the Eastview community center where he was a leader. Supposedly the night Walker and Scotland were outside the community center smoking weed and he asked them to stop. The young man and a friend waited for Howard as he arrived home and got off the elevator. As he got off the elevator he was shot in the head, no chance to ever make it.

Aslyn Walker pleaded guilty to second degree murder and was automatically given a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 14 years.

The second young man charged for manslaughter in this case is Craig Scotland. Craig pleaded guilty and also expressed his remorse. He knew of the grudge Walker had with Howard over the fact he told him to stop smoking so he followed Walker and somewhat assisted in the shooting. He gave details as to how Howard fought for his life that even his jacket was over his head at one point which is when the shot went off.

The following is the letter Aslyn read to the court:

Mrs. Howard:
I'm sorry for what happened on December 13, 2003. If I hadn't been involved in guns or if I hadn't had a gun on me, this would never have happened. I thought before that having a gun made me safe. Now I realize no one is safe when so many have a gun.
Your sone (sic) would never have been killed if didn't have a gun. I don't know exactly how you feel but I have a little understanding how you feel because of how I felt when friends and family passed away. I can't imagine how much worse it must be for you losing your child.
I'm sorry for taking your child away from you. If I had the power to bring him back, he would have been back within the night.
What happened that night wasn't planned to be that way. It bothers me. Kempton was a good person in my eyes and in the eyes of many. Words can't explain how I feel about what I've done. You losing Kempton is like me losing my brother because my little brother felt good about Kempton.
In killing Kempton, I have stolen a positive influence from my little brother's life and hurt the one person who is closest to me in life. I'm ashamed of myself. I'm not going to ask you to forgive me, because I know I will never be able to forgive myself.
I'm so sorry.

Joan Howard's Victim Impact Statement
Do you know how if feels to cry senselessly late at night? Kempton was my first born son. Nine out of ten mothers usually get to take their baby home. I was that one mother who had to leave her child in the hospital. Kempton was born with spinal bifida, at seven weeks he underwent surgery and extensive physical therapy.
He was my miracle child. He was able to walk, run, and play sports despite the pain and discomfort. He grew up to be a fine young active, healthy man bringing home trophies and awards for his accomplishments.
When Kempton was twelve I had my second son Kareem. Kempton loved and adored him, whenever you saw Kempton, Kareem was there. He was almost like my built-in baby sitter. He took him to the park, community centre and day care. Kempton was not only a big brother he was also a father figure and mentor to Kareem helping him with his home-work.
I was very proud of Kempton, he was active in the community working with children and youth, as a result of his dedication he received a Boys and Girls Scholarship to study Physiotherapy at Seneca College.
Kempton celebrated his twenty-fourth birthday on December 06, 2003, it was a festive occasion with family and friends. During the day of December 13, 2003, I had put up our Christmas tree in preparation for the Holidays and by 8pm that evening I received the devastating news that my child was murdered. I have not been the same person since that day, my life has forever changed, since then Christmas has lost its meaning.
In the midst of making funeral arrangements for my son, I had to move from my home of thirty years. I was concerned for my family's personal safety, Kareem was very scared to be in the community. I had to take time off from work because I could not focus my attention, my doctor had to put me on medical leave, as a sole support parent and a single mother I had financial difficulties.
Parenting my remaining child has been a challenge. I've become very hypersensitive to the violence in our City. I know if Kempton were alive he would be a calming influence to both me and Kareem.
Being of Trinidadian heritage I would travel home annually to take part in Carnival as a masquerader, I was also active in Toronto's Caribana events. Since Kempton's death I have lost my zeal for such activities.
I had dreams about my son having a successful career, meeting the love of his life, getting married and raising his own family, all hopes of that is gone forever. Instead of crying tears of joy, I'm crying tears of pain.
My mother Lenora who would annually travel to Canada to spend time with her grandsons was devastated when she heard the news of Kempton's death, they had a close relationship. She would prepare his favourite foods and tell him stories about our family, I know that she misses him dearly.
Kareem my remaining son is a more reserved child, his brother would encourage him to get involved in community activities. When Kempton died Kareem kept many of his emotions inside, he found it too difficult to express his feelings. Kareem was in disbelief, he would say 'mom it's not Kempton in that coffin just someone who looks like him'. At age 12 he was trying to console me and himself. Kareem had a difficult time in school, he found it hard to focus, cope and adjust to a life without his brother. Kareem received and continues to receive counseling.
Indirect victims of my son's sudden death; all of the East-view neighbourhood Community Centre, Blake Boultbee community, children, youth and parents all grieved the loss of my son. To cope with his untimely death the City of Toronto renamed a local park in his honour, KEMPTON HOWARD PARK followed by a plaque dedication. The Raptors organization dedicated a basketball court and a plaque in Kempton's memory to a local school and the Boys and Girls Club of Ontario named a Scholarship in his honour. These forms of recognition are a testimonial my son Kempton Howard was a pillar of the community.
This has been the most difficult letter I've had to write. I never imagined I would bury my son for such a senseless act. I always believed a child would bury their parent in their old age. There is an emptiness in my heart which can never be repaired, part of me is gone but KEMPTON HOWARD IS GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN.
Joan Howard