Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mothers in Charge, Dr. Patricia Griffin

Dr. Patricia Griffin lost her youngest of three sons on Dec. 8, 2003. Darien Griffin was 33 years old with two young boys. Police have yet to catch his killer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

K-9 Unit, part 2

K-9 Unit

The K-9 Unit was named Unit of the Year for the prison system. The unit goes through a drill with the dogs in Holmesburg Prison. The dogs are trained to find cell phones, drugs, and other paraphernalia.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mothers in Charge, Dorothy Johnson-Speight

Dorothy Johnson-Speight holds a photo of her son Khaaliq who was murdered in Dec. 2001. Khaaliq was killed by his next door neighbor Ernest Odom, the same individual who killed Justin Donnelly in July 2001. Johnson-Speight co-founded Mothers in Charge with Ruth Donnelly. One of the above photos will be used in the story.

Brandon Negron

Brandon Negron, a 14 year old Northeast Philly resident, recently qualified to compete in the World Championship Tae Kwon Do tournament held in Argentina, where he will face top athletes from throughout the globe.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I just got a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens and I was playing around one afternoon as my friend Patrick patiently sat on my couch.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Show and Tell

During a visit to All Saints Episcopal Academy Nursery School, Robert Gordon of the United States Army Parachute Team shows nephew Ryan Gordon, 4, how helicopters can fly sideways. Robert Gordon visited the school on Friday April 17.

Sports - Frankford vs. GAMP

Frankford's shortstop #2, Harry Davila

Mothers in Charge, Ruth Donnelly

Ruth Donnelly's youngest son Justin was stabbed to death while sitting on the front steps of his friend's Olney home on July 15, 2001. He was only 19 years old and had just graduated from Swenson Arts and Technology High School. His killer was finally convicted to life in prison without parole in 2006. Donnelly co-founded the group Mothers in Charge, a group of women who are actively fighting violence in the city.
"Sometimes (people) think that that's the end of it and how it just affects your life 5 or 6 years down the line. We lived in Olney all our lives and we had to leave the neighborhood.
Justin was very easy going. He loved baseball. Basketball was another one of his passions, he loved playing in our driveway. He was never a fighter, when this first happened, the police tried to say that this was (racially motivated), Justin was never one to initiate a fight. He was just a really easy going kid, " Ruth says proudly as her husband Joe stares out the back window. "He liked being with his family. My daughter had just had a baby at the time and he was so excited to be an uncle and that the family was growing. Justin always wanted a big family.
"Just look at his smile, he was a class clown!" Joe Donnelly points to a class photo of his son.
"We were away and we got a phone call that we had to come home right away. They wouldn't say (anything) about what had happened. His friend's mother called and left a message (at our hotel in the mountains) saying that we had to go to Einstein Hospital right away. I tried calling my daughter (as we were leaving) and she just said 'you need to get home'. We didn't even make it to the hospital, we pulled up to our house on Chew St. and everyone was outside and we knew that something had happened.
"The whole time we were driving down here, I thought he was just hurt, it never ever occurred to me (that he would die)...When you have a murder trial, it's so hard to even grieve for a long time because you have to deal (not only) with the sudden loss of someone but you also have to deal with the district attorney's office. You're always waiting for an answer, for the first year, there's no grief time. It's always on your mind. My husband, it ate him alive not being able to find that person (who murdered our son). Then they found him and it took another 4 years just to go to trial. The system doesn't let you grieve. There were so many things that were always happening. Meeting Dorothy (Johnson-Speight of Mothers in Charge) and the Lost Dreams on Canvas was great but in between you're dealing with the district attorney's office, the homicide department, you're dealing with postponements of the trial. For all that time, (there's so much) to deal with. By the second trial, I could finally grieve.
I never thought in all my years that I would be an advocate for stronger gun laws. Going to grief meetings, meeting other parents that have lost their children to murders, that was not part of my plan. I am involved in the Smart Program, that's run by the school district. We talk to the kids about conflict resolution, how to handle anger. I never thought I would be one of these speakers doing that kind of work. I work in the school district so I see that aggression. If they don't have anyone to talk to and they don't know where they can go to control their anger it will go on and on. (My son's murderer's) arrest record started when he was only 15.
I feel that I could never do this again, I would never survive. I don't have the strength, it takes all the strength out of you.
I am one of the founding members (of Mothers in Charge). I had no idea it would take off the way it has. We play off of each other's strength. One member talks to men in prison, to give them the mother's perspective. She talks to them about changing their ways. I could never do that.
I still have problems (with the grieving process), especially when the seasons change. Because things are moving on and Justin is still not here. Spring is coming again and Justin is still not here. The world is moving on and Justin will always be 19 years old."