Jesswill, a life in 19 paragraphs

1. He killed some one. With a gun. He didn’t use his hands, of course.

2. Gowan was right. The single paragraph in the NY post Police blotter reads,

It is enough. A paragraph tells the whole story.

NY Post
Daily blotter
By Daniel Prendergast
The Bronx
Police have arrested a young man who gunned down another teen in Tremont, authorities said.
Jesswill Perez, 18, was arrested Saturday for shooting Edward Molina, 18, after the two argued on East Tremont Avenue at around 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, cops said.
Molina was taken to St. Barnabas Hospital after being struck once in the torso, and was later pronounced dead.
Perez has been charged with murder, manslaughter, and possession of a loaded firearm, cops said.
3. It was a hot 2nd floor 9th grade English classroom. I was called there because Jesswill would not listen; not sit; not work for the teacher. And he was up and yelling; refusing to leave the room. He knew me as the Principal, the head of school. But, though we had a slight relationship, it was limited. He talked I listened (and then I talked) he wouldn’t move. I always counted on, believed in, the power of relationships. Now it wasn’t enough, relationships. What to do?

4. Maybe two paragraphs tell the story. Jesswill’s mug shot docket from February 2014 lists his date of birth as a year. (See attached appendix 1) Not a date; a year. No pictures from this facility. Just a year of birth.

Arrest Date: 2014-02-08 0:00 am

Booking Facility: Robert N. Davoren Complex New York

Height: 5 ft 8 inches
Weight: 125 lbs
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 1995
Age at Booking: 18
Age now: 19

5. So I had to do something: it was now about power. I could have a security officer pull him out; but there would have been a fight; handcuffs; the works. And I would be handling over power, authority. As principal in the Morrisania section of the South Bronx I couldn’t lose.

6. Why just a birth year? Probably because Jesswill was too stubborn to give the date; I could see them barely could get his name out of him at booking. Stubborn. Holding on to the space he had. He couldn’t let go. There is also probably why he was carrying when they arrested him.

7. ‘Alright. Ms. Seoane; Mr. Ramirez. – Room 203 is free. Bring the class there. Now please.’
I stood in the doorway as the kids moved; Jesswill got up around the last to go.
‘Where are you going?’
To class
‘No no. You wanted to stay here; you refused to leave; you’re staying here with me. I am granting your request. You can stay; have what you want.’ He went crazy.

8. You see, I had become Jesswill; Anthony Claybourne; Spencer Bridges; Latasha Frett; Sarah Cunningham; I had become them all. Angry; stubborn; overheated in a flash, like The Flash. I had no margins in my life. All in; all the time. Flash. And I couldn’t lose. Never. To leave that room Jesswill would have to kill me.

9. He tired. But look at the docket. 125 pounds. I was 300. He bounced off me. The officers left. They knew to go from how I handled incidents in the past. He’ll, they didn’t want to be there anyway, with a crazy student and a crazy principal? And they were sacred of me when I was like this. They had seen.

10. After a while, I got him to talk. About a father in jail; how he had to take care of his brothers; sisters; mother. He felt he was the oldest.
He couldn’t fail. He wasn’t concerned about school. He meant life. Concerned about others’ lives. He looked in my eyes. He told me that he thought I cared for him. He would try to be, do, better. I think he meant it. Still do. We were on in a moment. A flash. We came up with a plan. It lasted two days.

11. He is charged with killing a twenty year old on 20 December. Christmas. A family spent their Christmas in a funeral parlour. They caught him in February 2014. How? Look at the docket. He was selling marijuana still holding the gun. The gun tied him to the crime. He couldn’t let go.

12. Jesswill is the type of kid, 125 in weight, slight build, mouthy, who won’t last in prison. He will be tracked and cut; hunted and punked. Deader than the kid he killed.

13. I lost myself in that place: that abyss of rejection, death and despair. My last three years there I saw three students murdered on the street: Tonya; Jared; Elisabeth.

14. Want the details? Most people do. Don’t worry. I can’t forget them.
Jared was shot outside a house party two plus years past graduation. He was a great great dancer.

15. Lisbeth was bi. She was sleeping with her 20 plus year old lover when her husband came home, unexpectedly released from lock up. He killed Lisbeth, but not his wife, not mother of his two children. He cut Lisbeth up; put her in a plastic bag in a closet. The neighbours complained about the smell after a few days.

16. Tonya beat up a neighbourhood girl. Now, she could have killed with her hands. It must have been a bad beating. On the side steps of the school one night, she was sitting with her man. A guy came up to her and knifed her in the neck. He stabbed her man to, but he lived. She bled out crawling back home, a block away at the Trinity Housing projects.
The next day I visited the family. I should have been killed when I went to enter Tonya’s building. People in the community were angry. Timothy Robinson, a former student saved me. He came by on a banana bike jumped off and hugged me right before I was to go. Got everyone to back off. Why? He loved me for loving him. He dropped out of school to do business; make money. He had to take care of family.

17. I wouldn’t leave Tonya; Jared; Lisbeth, any of them, that night. I couldn’t. Loving them was my power; my soul; my identity; me. I couldn’t back up.

18. That’s how they died. I don’t know all about how they lived. Some one loved them. Someone. I know that.

19. Jesswill lives. On some unknown day between 20 December and the end of February, he will be 19. There should always be a 19. At least that.

Appendix 1

Status: remanded
State: NY Arrest Date: 2014-02-08 0:00 am

Booking Facility: Robert N. Davoren Complex New York

Height: 5 ft 8 inches
Weight: 125 lbs
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 1995
Age at Booking: 18
Age now: 19

Booking Information Incarceration 09-FEB-2014
Book & Case Number: 2411401279
Current Housing Facility: RNDC (Robert N. Davoren Center)
Arrest Date: 08-FEB-2014
Arrest Number: b14609378m
Next Court Date: 13-FEB-2014
Bail Status: remanded
Charge Information
Docket:Indictment:Court Part:Court Name:
Charge:
2014BX007429 00000 0000 F-A Bronx Crim. Ct.
125.25 FA (MURDER A Felony)

Docket:Indictment:Court Part:Court Name:
Charge:
2014BX007430 00000 0000 F-A Bronx Crim. Ct.
265.03 FC (CRIM POSS WEAPON-2ND DEGREE C Felony)

Docket:Indictment:Court Part:Court Name:
Charge:
2012BX047688 00000 0000 F-A Bronx Crim. Ct.
221.40 MA (CRIM SALE MARIJUANA-4TH A Misdemeanor)

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