Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"That could be me"

Brenda and Johnny Sherard

"That could be me"
by Robert A. Waters

Four thugs looking for trouble. Goon-talking, gangsta-worshipping, superficial bravado. “We rob somebody, man!” And off they go on a date with murder.

Johnny Sherard, 66, and his wife Brenda, 53, pull into the driveway of their Montgomery, Alabama home after a quick meal at Captain D’s. “I guess we were talking,” Johnny says, “and just not paying any attention, because we didn’t see them. We started to get out of the car and there they were.”

Just that quick, the couple is surrounded. Herbert L. Turner, 18, jerks a gun out of his pants and demands Johnny’s wallet. Quanderrious Johnson, 18, and Jhavarske Lewis, also 18, stand in the background.

Explaining that there’s no cash in the billfold, the beleaguered victim gives it up.

Fifteen-year-old Zeris Walker rushes up to Brenda. Cursing her, he demands money.

Brenda, who has a few dollars in her pocket, refuses to part with it.

Walker sucker-punches the defenseless woman. She staggers but doesn’t crumble. Again he hits her, and yet again. Finally, she falls.

Just that quick, they’re gone like a bad dream.

No glory. No swagga. No staxxx of cash.

Just an innocent woman sobbing in the dirt.

Brenda Sherard is rushed to the hospital where she suffers a massive heart attack and dies.

A few days ago, the four pleaded guilty to murder.

Walker was sentenced to thirty years in prison. A bad-ass wannabe, he had numerous juvie arrests and convictions. Many were for violent offenses, such as assault, theft with force, and robbery.

Turner, who held the gun, was given 25 years. The other two got 20 each.

Johnny and Brenda Sherard loved bowling. They had numerous trophies in their basement. In fact, they’d met at a bowling tournament many years before. Brenda worked for an assisted living home. Johnny stated that sometimes she would cry herself to sleep when one of her patients died.

Now that she’s gone, the house filled with memories of her feels empty.

Deputy District Attorney John Kachelman summed up the feelings of many after the guilty plea. “These people just pulled up unaware in their driveway,” he said. “They had just run out to get fast food like hundreds of us do every day. [The crime] is not some kind of gang violence, which is what we see a lot of. It’s not a drug deal gone bad. I think everyone can see themselves in this and they think, ‘That could be me.’”

Well said.

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