Community takes action for Chesapeake mom stuck with student loans from murdered son

Posted at 11:32 PM, Feb 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-05 06:32:00-05

Chesapeake, Va. - Angela Smith owes more than $30,000 on the college loan of her murdered son, Donte Newsome.

The company that owns the loan has two words for the grieving mother: Pay up.  

"They're relentless. They don't care. My son's death is our problem is how they made us feel," said Smith. "That's our problem."

Smith co-signed on her son's loan when the former Deep Creek football star needed another year at school to graduate from Marshall University in West Virginia after his athletic scholarship ran out.

He was killed in 2008. Within weeks, First Marblehead Corporation and American Education Services, the companies that were collecting Donte's student loan, came looking for their money.

"I mean in the beginning, we thought they cared and they were understanding and that kind of thing, but it was just to get information," Smith said.

In October, the Smiths sent a letter to First Marblehead asking for their loan to be forgiven.

They received a standard, boiler plate letter.

"You know, they really don't care, but let's try it," Smith said. "And we did and this is the end result."

It expressed sympathy but said First Marblehead was "regrettably not in a position to write off" the loan.

So Smith went to, hoping to rally support for her cause.
It started off small, just a few dozen signatures.

Last month, it picked up, getting up to 1,000. Somehow 1,000 snowballed into 100,000.

Every time someone signs up, an email is sent to First Marblehead.

"I don't think they like me very much right now," Smith said.

Click here to view the petition on