Editorial: Speak up to help solve homicides
Do the right thing.
Those words are written toward the bottom of a flyer being distributed by the family of Jamol Horton. They are almost lost among the details of last spring’s slaying, but they cannot be easily ignored.
On the morning of May 2, the 41-year-old Horton, who was a youth football coach, was shot and killed in Ridgeland. The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said he was “ambushed and robbed.”
Sheriff Chris Malphrus said his department has interviewed at least 25 people in reference to the slaying and there are persons of interest, but the case has yet to be solved.
Word on the street tells Malphrus he’s on the right track, but “that’s not enough.”
On a Thursday evening last January, as he arrived home from his job as a mechanic, Ridgeland’s Bryan Riley, 49, was shot and killed in his driveway. His son was sitting in the back seat of the car.
More than a year has passed without that case being solved. Dozens of people have been interviewed, but a suspect has remained elusive.
Both families are frustrated and the sheriff is frustrated. They are asking for your help.
“We want justice for the families,” said Malphrus, who went to school and played football with Horton. “It’s almost like these people become part of our family because we pour our hearts into the investigations.”
Horton’s family is offering a reward of up to $40,000 to anyone with information that leads to an arrest and conviction of those responsible for his killing.
Malphrus hopes the possibility of a reward entices people to come forward (there’s no financial reward offered in the Riley slaying) and he believes it shows the family and the community are doing everything they can to bring justice.
He said the sheriff’s office is getting close to solving the homicides, but he wants to continue to investigate to ensure airtight cases.
“We want to have a solid case,” he said. “We need people to say, ‘I saw this or heard that.’ It’s a puzzle and we have to piece it together, step by step.”
Malphrus said even the smallest bit of information could be the important piece that leads to arrests. Anyone with information in either case can make an anonymous call to the tip line at 1-888-CRIME-SC or call the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office at 843-726-7799 ext. 4163.
Malphrus believes the sheriff’s office is gaining the trust of the community since he was sworn in as sheriff last January. He thinks people have been forthcoming. He hopes the community will continue to be candid.
“What it’s going to take is for the community to stand up,” he said. “Someone out there knows.”
Do the right thing.