More than three months after the shooting death of 32-year-old Jason Boykin inside his Adair Avenue apartment, the death has left nothing but sadness for his Columbus mother and other family members.
“He has three children and they are so sad and distraught over what’s going on, going to the cemetery to see their dad,” Gladys Boykin, the victim’s mother, said during an interview at her downtown apartment. “It’s just hard because they no longer have a father and I no longer have a son. My daughter no longer has a brother. It’s so hard.”
Nineteen homicides have been recorded by the Muscogee County Coroner’s Office since Jan. 1 and 16 have been investigated by the Columbus Police Department. Boykin is among the eight unsolved homicides that don’t include former Carver High School linebacker Richard Vaughn Cummings Jr., an 18-year-old who was killed July 14 at 909 Farr Road, and the July 17 shooting of 43-year-old Ruby Lloyd at 33 Meloy Drive.
During the same period last year, Columbus had recorded 12 homicides. With one week remaining in this month, July has been the most deadly month of the year with nine violent deaths followed by five homicides in April. The shooting deaths of a Fort Benning soldier Donald Matthews and Robert Lockhart in separate incidents came early Saturday.
Police Maj. Gil Slouchick, head of the Investigative Services Bureau, has noted a pattern in the unsolved slayings that may indicate why no suspect has been arrested.
“All of the unsolved homicides in Columbus are related to drugs, gangs or both,” he said.
With drugs and gang activity part of the nature of the crimes, Slouchick said people who may know something are reluctant to talk.
“We don’t have a camera on every corner,” he said of few leads in the cases. “On these kind of cases, there is not a police officer there watching. We kind of rely on the community. Because of the nature of the cases, there is a reluctance to talk.”
Gladys Boykin said she hasn’t heard anything about a connection between drugs and gang activity in her son’s April 11 death. She said she does find it strange that no one has come forward.
“Nobody heard anything over there next door,” she said. “That’s just mind boggling to me. All I have is resigned myself to the Lord’s will and hopefully somebody will come forward.”
Gladys, 68, said she saw her son two days before the shooting and everything was normal. The apartment was a convenient location for Boykin and his girlfriend, who found him dead the night of April 11. Gladys wonders whether her son did something wrong to make someone want to take his life.
“I believe if they had told him and given him an opportunity, he would have made it up to them,” she said. “He would have made it up to them.”
Her son was the father of a boy and two girls, ages 13, 10 and 7.
“He didn’t want to go like that,” she said.
Because the gunman is still at large, Gladys said she is concerned whenever she is out around people on the streets.
“You have to even look at people,” she said. “You don’t know if they got something to do with it or know who did it. That’s really hard.”
Other unsolved homicides
Destiny Nelson, 17, was killed more than a week after 22-year-old Dominique Horton was killed Jan. 5 in a parking lot on 32nd Avenue. Destiny was shot Jan. 16 after she answered the door but didn’t open it at Bull Creek Apartments. Multiple gunshots were fired through the door.
Police believe the shooting of Nelson was in retaliation of Horton’s death although she wasn’t involved. The shooting may have been a case of mistaken identity.
“That little girl was innocent,” Slouchick said.
Eric Parker was killed outside a Conner Road apartment near Cusseta Road on Feb. 10. He was 28.
On April 19, Marion Davon Ralph, 39, was found dead of a gunshot wound at the Pentecostal Church of God on 25th Ave. Jakorbin King, 21, died of multiple gunshots on April 30 inside his apartment on 33rd Street.
Glen Hollan Adipi, 23, was shot dead on May 8 in the 1400 block of 24th Street in East Highland.
In a hail of gunfire at a house in the 800 block of Rigdon Road, Brandon Scott, 24, was killed on July 7. And police are still waiting for positive identification on a John Doe found in the trunk of a burning car at Harbison Drive and Head Street.
Slouchick said the 2-month-old girl who died in an Atlanta hospital on July 8 will probably be investigated as a homicide, although it is on the coroner’s list until the cause of death is official.
Of the total unsolved homicides, Slouchick said police have issued a warrant in one case but he didn’t disclose the victim’s name. Police are still talking to witnesses in the shooting of Cummings. Police won’t decide on the other deaths until an autopsy report is completed along with the investigation.
Gladys said anyone with information in her son’s death should come forward.
“We’d like to see whoever did it to come forward and just clean his heart,” she said. “Anybody that knows anything about my son, Jason Boykin, killed the way he was, please come forward. Please give some information to what’s going on.”
Sondra Mack, 39, recalled how she took care of her younger sibling while growing up. She seeks justice for her brother.
“We believe that God is in control and makes no mistakes but we would still like that person to clean his heart and come forward in the death of my brother, Jason Boykin,” she said. “He was a great brother and we miss him dearly.”
2017 Homicides in Columbus
Here is a list of 2017 Columbus homicides classified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, said Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan:
▪ 1. Dominique Devonte Horton, 22, of Columbus was killed in a Jan. 5 shooting in the 300 block of 32nd Avenue that also wounded another man. A large group of people gathered in the parking lot to watch two female juveniles fight before gunfire erupted.
▪ 2. Destiny Nelson, 17, of Columbus was killed in a Jan. 16 shooting at the Bull Creek Apartments near Woodruff Farm Road after she answered the apartment door but didn’t open it.
▪ 3. Eric Parker , 28, of Columbus was killed in a Feb. 10 shooting at a Conner Road apartment near Cusseta Road.
▪ 4. Maurice McGhee, 25, was shot and killed on March 24 at Wilson Homes at 3400 Eighth Ave. after a dispute with a man over a woman.
▪ 5. Dudley Jones, 44, was shot and killed on April 1 on Ticknor Drive.
▪ 6. Jason Boykin, 32, was fatally shot April 11 inside 1021 Adair Ave. , Apt. 5.
▪ 7. Marion Davon Ralph, 39, was found dead of a gunshot wound April 19 at the Pentecostal Church of God on 25th Avenue between Dawson and Cusseta Road.
▪ 8. Jakorbin King, 21, died of multiple gunshot wounds April 30 inside his apartment in the 1000 block of 33rd Street.
▪ 9. Lavonte Thomas, 26, was fatally shot April 30 in the 1400 block of 24th Street in East Highland.
▪ 10. Glen Hollan Adipi, 23, was shot and killed May 8 in the 1400 block of 24th Street in East Highland.
▪ 11. Pedro Juan Carmoega, 36, was fatally stabbed during a July 4 event on Big Creek Place and died three days later at Midtown Medical Center.
▪ 12. Brandon Scott, 34, was shot and killed July 7 at a house in the 800 block of Rigdon Road.
▪ 13. An unidentified person was found dead in the trunk of a burning car July 10 at the intersection of Harbison Drive and Head Street.
▪ 14. Richard Vaughn Cummings Jr. 18, was shot and killed July 14 while sitting in the front passenger seat of a car at 909 Farr Road. He was a former linebacker at Carver High School.
▪ 15. Ruby Lloyd, 43, was shot and killed July 17 at 33 Meloy Drive.
▪ 16. Christopher Warden, 31, was fatally shot by a woman on Feb. 6 after allegedly breaking into her apartment on Armour Avenue, authorities said.
▪ 17. Mariah Alston, 2-month-old, was being treated for skull fractures and other serious injuries when she died July 8 at Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. Officials are waiting for additional test results from her autopsy to determine a cause of death.
▪ 18. Robert Lockhart, 32, was shot at 12:40 a..m. July 22 at 2843 Grant Road during a dispute with another man. He was pronounced dead of multiple gunshots at Midtown Medical Center. Eddie Clayton was arrested at the shooting scene and charged with murder.
▪ 19. Donald Matthews, 26, was shot at 1:51 a.m. July 22 at the intersection of Veterans Parkway and River Road. The Fort Benning soldier died at 6:36 a.m. of multiple gunshots at Midtown Medical Center.
Note: Deaths of Warden, Alston, Lockhart, Matthews and Giles are listed on the coroner’s list of homicides, but Columbus police did not include them on their list. Alston may be investigated as a homicide, police said.