Sting of death casts a chill 18 years later
reporter, I wrote about Tyesa’s tragic death, about the family’s two-year journey of court hearings, about her killer’s trial.
Tyesa had gone with her boyfriend to see the movie “Juice” at a theater near downtown. Afterward, as she walked into the street, a gunman opened fire on rival gang members. He was David Lamont Moore, 14, and baby-faced. Jurors convicted Moore as an adult of firing the 9mm round that felled Tyesa that frigid night, Jan. 17, 1992.
I asked to cover the story, convinced that too often the victims of homicide are quickly forgotten once the headlines have faded — convinced that there is a story to tell of the impact of murder in a way that so many of us still don’t understand.
For Delphine Cherry, 52, its impact was admittedly a mix of therapy, prayer and prescriptions for years to numb the pain. It was the strict reign over her three younger children, her refusal to allow them to ride a public bus, her incessant worry and the knowledge that even after having done all to keep her children safe, the unthinkable was still possible.
Then there was the bitterness, her desire for revenge, the determination that she should ensure her daughter's killer stay behind bars. There were the holidays, birthdays, Mother’s Days that passed each year with the reality that someone — that Tyesa — was missing.
The Cherry family’s story is repeated with great frequency, played out time and again beyond the newscasts and headlines, most often in Chicago’s black and brown communities, where mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and other relatives trod the path of being members of an unenviable club: relatives of a murdered child.
Eighteen years after Tyesa’s murder, it seems not much has changed — an assertion backed in part by the inscription on the nearby crypt of another 16-yearold in the same cemetery: “Blair Holt: 1990 to 2007.”
And by the knowledge that in another cemetery not far away lies Derrion Albert, also 16.
Despite a trail of tears and the senseless slaying of hundreds more children and teens over nearly two decades, more mothers and families than ever should partake in the ritual of visitations on birthdays, holidays and somber anniversaries to a place that ought not to be filled with the innocent young.
But this much has changed — at least for Cherry, now a probation officer and hopeful that she can save other boys from becoming killers. She has forgiven the boy, now 32, who took Tyesa. She has found strength and healing enough to live and smile again.
And in her face these days, even as she stands teary eyed in front of a stone cold crypt, there is the light of peace.