News

Actions

Family of VSU hazing victim: ‘I’m always expecting him to still come through the door’

Default-Image_1280x720.png
Posted at 7:08 PM, Jun 05, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-05 19:08:41-04

Dionne Williams would have celebrated her son Jauwan Holmes' 20th birthday this month, but instead of hugs she'll have only memories to cling to.

"June is just hard," said Williams. "I'm always expecting him to still come through the door."

Williams didn't expect the involuntary manslaughter indictments for the four men she blames for her son and Marvell Edmondson's deaths.

"This was a surprise yesterday," she said.

Chesterfield police say Charles Zollicoffer, James Mackey and VSU students Eriq Benson and Corey Baytop told Jauwan, Marvell and five other VSU freshmen to walk through the Appomatox River in April.  The swollen river claimed the two Hampton Roads teens' lives.

It was initiation for the group Men of Honor, an organization Jauwan and Marvell thought was a campus organization.

"If only we had known, we would not be here today," Williams said.

Police charged the men with misdemeanor hazing for the five men that survived, but a grand jury indicted each of the men with two counts of felony involuntary manslaughter. It carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. The possibility of a stiffer penalty offers a bit of hope to Williams.

"It helps us to understand and to know that we're moving in the right direction," said Williams. "Regardless of what the outcome is, complete peace would be if our children were still here, but they're not."

Related: 

Four men connected to VSU hazing incident charged with involuntary manslaughter

Hazing victim’s parents want more in VSU’s new anti-hazing campaign

Funeral held for VSU student killed during hazing ritual

Families of VSU hazing victims speak out about tragic loss

4th suspect arrested in connection to VSU hazing incident

Expert: Lengthy jail time not likely for VSU hazing death charges

Some ‘Men of Honor’ charged with VSU hazing have criminal backgrounds

Police continue to search for 4th person in connection to VSU hazing incident

Family, friends remember VSU student Marvell Edmondson in Portsmouth