Funerals held for two murdered girls

July 3, 2009 5:06:07 PM PDT
Two young girls whose lives ended in violence were laid to rest Friday. Funerals were held for 2-year-old Jada Justice and 9-year-old Chastity Turner. The girls lived in two different cities, but both of their lives had violent endings. One was killed by a bullet while giving her dog a bath. Investigators say the other was beaten.

On the type of summer day normally filled with the sound of children's laughter, there were tears. Kids were among the mourners for 2-year-old Jada Justice. They, along with her parents, are forced to say goodbye too soon.

"A whole bunch of good memories. The best thing to ever happen to me," said Clarence Justice, Jada Justice's father.

Those gathered under a tent in a Portage cemetery tried to focus on the positive: The memories of her smile, laugh and antics. Not the senseless sequence of events that police say lead to Jada's death. The girl's 18-year-old cousin and her live-in-boyfriend are charged with murder. Prosecutors say Jada died after a severe beating. The couple is accused of trying to burn Jada's body to dispose of it; when that didn't work, she was encased in concrete and dumped in a swamp. All the while, a community searched in vane for the missing girl.

"She got peace and everything. That we found her so we are able to give her a proper burial. We've got to start the healing process from here," said Clarence Justice.

Thirty miles away, in Chicago, a different family experienced the same grief and the same task of burying a child.

"She was a helpful, fun, joyful child," said Chante Moffett, Chastity Turner's cousin.

Moffett is Chastity Turner's cousin. The 9-year-old girl died after being shot in Englewood last week. Police say she was hit by a gang members' bullets that may have been intended for her father.

What words can a pastor share to help ease the pain and fear that come with a child's murder?

"The most important thing I try to offer to the younger ones is not to be afraid. We have so many little ones that are afraid to go outside and play," said Pastor William Fleshman, Abundant Living Christian Church.

"I realize life is short. You never know when you're going to go so just live your life. You gotta live," said Chante Moffett, Chastity Turner's cousin.

Police have made arrests and prosecutors filed charges in both murders. Families have answers, but of course there is no logical explanation for killing an innocent kid.


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