HEART BRO­KEN

Fam­ily, friends of mur­dered JC stu­dent strug­gle to cope Peace­ful protest set for Mon­day

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer

WHEN XAVIER Fran­cis, fa­ther of slain Ja­maica Col­lege (JC) stu­dent Nicholas Fran­cis, gave him the lo­ca­tion of his lunch money be­fore he headed off to school on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, he had not even the slight­est thought that that would have been the last time he would see his only child alive.

“The last time I spoke to him was in the morn­ing when he was leav­ing, and he asked me for his lunch money. I had some money on the dresser and I told him to take his lunch money out of it. He took it up and left,” Fran­cis told The Gleaner.

Nicholas was killed by a man at­tempt­ing to rob him on a Coaster bus near the JC school gate on Old Hope Road in St An­drew.

The po­lice yes­ter­day said Qua­cie Hart, of an un­known ad­dress, was wanted for the mur­der of the 14-yearold stu­dent.

Hart was asked to im­me­di­ately turn him­self in to the St An­drew Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion.

Yes­ter­day, Fran­cis said he had not been feel­ing well all day Wed­nes­day, and as a re­sult, de­cided to stay home.

That evening, the act­ing prin­ci­pal of JC, Wayne Robin­son, called Fran­cis to

His Mommy not do­ing good. I had to carry her to the doc­tor last night (Wed­nes­day) to give her seda­tive and they gave her some other med­i­ca­tion. The fam­ily [is] not tak­ing it good.

in­form him that Nicholas was at the Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal of the West Indies.

“The prin­ci­pal called me from JC and told me that my son had a con­fronta­tion with some­body on a bus and he was rushed to the Univer­sity Hos­pi­tal and I must go up there now be­cause he was on his way up there. I was at home when I got the phone call. I was sleep­ing when the phone rang. I was not feel­ing good,” Fran­cis said.

EX­PECTED ‘SOME­THING SIM­PLE’

“I never knew he died at that time. I just heard that he was rushed there. In my as­sump­tion, it was some­thing sim­ple. When I was on my way up there, I was at Matilda’s Cor­ner, they called me and told me that he died,” he said.

Re­ports sur­fac­ing since the in­ci­dent sug­gest that the per­pe­tra­tor was un­suc­cess­ful in an at­tempt to take Nicholas’ cell phone. His fa­ther told The Gleaner that he (the fa­ther) now has the cell phone in his pos­ses­sion.

“When he was rob­bing him, he de­fended him­self at that time at the back of the bus. The man took his bag from him, and based on what I am hear­ing now, the man lured him to the front and then stabbed him and then ran away. They never got his phone; they took his watch off his hand. They never got the phone be­cause we have the phone now,” he said.

“Heart­bro­ken” is how he best de­scribed his feel­ings about his son’s killing.

Fran­cis said that Nicholas’ mother had not been cop­ing well with his death.

“His Mommy not do­ing good. I had

to carry her to the doc­tor last night (Wed­nes­day) to give her seda­tive and they gave her some other med­i­ca­tion. The fam­ily [is] not tak­ing it good,” Fran­cis said.

Nicholas was one of two chil­dren for his mother.

Fran­cis re­mem­bers his son as a bril­liant in­di­vid­ual, loved and cared for by all.

“He was a bril­liant youth, you know. Every­body you talk to says he doesn’t give trou­ble. He comes home on time. He does his work. He goes to church on Sun­days. He was an al­tar boy, [and] he was pleas­ant.”

Yes­ter­day, the po­lice said they were ap­peal­ing to pas­sen­gers who were on the bus when the in­ci­dent took place to re­port any in­for­ma­tion that might aid the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The JC Par­ent-Teacher As­so­ci­a­tion said it was or­gan­is­ing a one-hour (7-8 a.m.) peace­ful de­mon­stra­tion for next Mon­day out­side of the school, from the front gate to the en­trance of Ravinia.

“We want all par­ents to sup­port and come dressed in black,” said PTA Pres­i­dent Er­rol Holmes.

“We will speak to the Gov­ern­ment about re­con­sid­er­ing a stu­dent trans­porta­tion sys­tem, and our board chair will launch a re­ward fund of $50,000 to­wards the cap­ture and con­vic­tion of Nicholas’ killer.”

Holmes added: “We hope others will match it. We want to send a mes­sage to Ja­maica that our chil­dren are our fu­ture and we must pro­tect, en­cour­age, and nur­ture them.”

JER­MAINE BARN­ABY/ FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Tears flow down the cheeks of sec­ond-for­mer Jaleel Pow­ell, a friend of Nicholas Fran­cis, as he is com­forted by his mom at Ja­maica Col­lege in St An­drew yes­ter­day.

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