Mother urges leniency for suspect in son's death

By Shannon Jenkins

The mother of 2-year-old Xavier Miranda, who was fatally shot in the neck during a botched robbery in February, said the man who admitted to shooting her son does not deserve the death penalty.

"Even though he did what he did, I don't want him to get the death penalty. He's too young; he made a mistake." Chimere Calloway said of Torrin D. Reese, the 18-year-old arrested this weekend in connection with Xavier's death.

Nonetheless, Calloway said she has nothing to say to Reese and she is happy to find some sort of closure.

"I couldn't believe it," Calloway said. "I thought it was going to be a cold case because no one would come forward with information. Now my family has closure, and we can get on with life."

Reese was arrested early Saturday morning in connection with the February shooting death of Xavier.

Detectives and uniformed officers apprehended Reese at a residence on Summerbrook Road in College Park around 2:50 a.m., Clayton County Police Capt. Jeff Turner said.

"He was taken without incident and admitted his involvement," Turner said, referring to the robbery attempt where 2-year-old Xavier Miranda was killed.

"This is an ongoing investigation, and additional arrests may be made."

Turner said Reese was taken to the Clayton County Detention Center and charged with felony murder, kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault.

On Feb. 10 around 7:10 p.m., an armed man kicked in the door of the Hunter's Bay apartment in Forest Park where Xavier lived with his family and demanded money from a tax refund William Miranda Jr., the boy's 22-year-old father, had recently received.

When Miranda said he didn't have any money, the gunman put a gun to Xavier's head. The boy's aunt walked in and startled the man, who pushed her down.

According to police, Miranda and the gunman exchanged fire. The man allegedly shot Xavier in the neck and escaped. Xavier died the following morning at the hospital.

Before hearing the news of Reese's arrest, Xavier's 22-year-old mother said she was losing hope authorities would ever find her son's alleged killer. Calloway said Miranda identified Reese in a police line-up on Friday evening. Reese was arrested early the next morning.

She said Reese will appear in court at 1:30 p.m. today.

"I'll be there," she said.

Calls to the Clayton County jail were not returned by press time Sunday to confirm the court appearance.

Sharon Owens, a Clayton County community activist, was overjoyed to hear a suspect was caught. "I know my work was not in vain," she said. Owens had circulated fliers around the community after the incident. The fliers listed information and details about the

suspect and included a picture of Xavier.

When Gerald Rose saw news reports about the suspect, he was overwhelmed. "It brought tears to my eyes, but it was joyful tears," said Rose, the president of New Order, a human rights organization based in Cobb County that has been helping in the search for a suspect. "We've been waiting on this day," he said. "I kept thinking, 'Why haven't we caught Xavier's killer?' Every day I was praying."