A Message to the Killer of Two Area Young Men
By Rose Newbold
Jarvis “Jab” Collins, Antone “Tone” Grant and Dominique “Dunt” Jackson became household names within the Newbold household in Delray Beach. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, without a shadow of doubt, we knew that our nephew, Jeff “Jay Bee” Blanchard would be inviting them over for dinner. Each year, Jay Bee brought another friend and then another. After the first visit, you were now considered family. We no longer fixed their plates, they knew to wash-up and fix their own.
They would eat, have debatable conversations on sports and other topics, and joke around with other family members and each other. We didn’t have to know them, for they were invited by Jay Bee. They came around so often that they were now family. They called Jay Bee’s mom, “Mother” and his aunt, “Auntie.”
As they all grew older, they began to have their own children. They brought their children (if they had any) and some of their friends along with them for dinner. In the Newbold household, there was always enough food to go around. Jay Bee’s cousins became really close to them as well. They had become so close that they started referring to “Jab”, “Tone”, and “Dunt” as “cuz.” As the years grew, more of Jay Bee’s friend would show up for the holidays. The list went on and on. You would have had to have been there to see the relationship between all of them.
It now brings tears to my eyes as I reminisce on last year’s birthday party. Most of Jay Bee’s friends were there with their children for Jay Bee’s son’s birthday party. I watched from afar how they all interacted with one another, whether they had kids or not. I watched how they embraced their children and I said to myself, “What a great group of fathers congregating without violence and having great conversation within their circle that they had formed. This image was frozen in my mind until a senseless shooting shattered it. It is now like a broken picture frame in my mind. All of the pieces have been picked up and taped back together again, but one piece is missing and that piece is Jab.
Jab had been taken, leaving behind his children on Feb. 18. No more holiday meals, no more laughter, no more birthday parties for the children together, no more hanging out with friends and family.
A senseless murderer ended that image. There is a murderer amongst us. This murderer killed Jab’s body, but couldn’t touch his soul. His spirit will continue to live in the lives of everyone he touched, especially his children whom he loved dearly.
You shattered a community that was getting ready to bury another one of their own that weekend. Are you the same murderer who killed Courtney McGriff two days before his 30th birthday? If not, there is another murderer amongst us. Courtney was a young man striving for excellence. He had a heart of gold. He was filled with honor and integrity. As with Jab, you killed Courtney’s body too, but you could never kill his soul.
It hurts because Jab was like a nephew to me and Courtney was a former employee of mine. You snatched two young productive lives because of the senseless life of your own. I am not here to blame you though. I blame your family and the community in which you were raised.
We the community, along with your family failed you. We allowed you to throw the rock and hide your hand without blame for too long. We failed you because we did not give you the proper tools to make it in society.
So, I am sorry on behalf of your family. I am sorry on behalf of our community. I pray that you read this and it convicts your heart into doing the right thing. The right thing would be to turn yourself in for the senseless murders that were committed.