By Ed Brock
The mother of a 14-year-old who was gunned down at a birthday party swears that her daughter's violent death will not be in vain.
On Wednesday Michelle McWhorter, wearing a K-shaped ring that belonged to her daughter, Krystal Williams, was present at the first court appearance of the four teen-age boys who have been arrested in connection with her child's death. Afterward she said God had a reason for taking her child.
"If he took my child to make a statement on these children, so be it," McWhorter said. "If it takes my child to wake up the community, so be it."
Quadarrion Nelson, 18, of Morrow and 15-year-old Ricardo Pinder of Forest Park have been charged with felony murder and aggravated assault in connection with the case, Clayton County Police Department Capt. Jeff Turner said.
Roderick Lamar Didone, 17, of Forest Park was charged with false report of a crime and Devin Brandon Mashburn of Morrow, also 17, was charged with tampering with evidence. Each was arrested at their home Monday.
On Wednesday they made their first appearance in Clayton County Magistrate Court to hear the charges against them. As the judge read the accusation against him, Nelson stood shaking his head.
Turner said all four admitted after their arrest to being at the Friday night party on Conley Drive in which gunfire erupted after several fights broke out and the hostess began telling people to leave. Another person, who is still at large, began firing into the air outside the house.
Police say Nelson first fired some rounds from a .380 caliber handgun from the sunroof of the white Cadillac in which the teens were riding. Then he sat down and Pinder handed him a 9 mm pistol which he fired into a crowd of fleeing partygoers.
One of those bullets hit Williams in the head and she died the next day.
Didone was the driver of the Cadillac, and according to the charge against him he lied when he told a police officer that somebody shot at his car but he didn't know who. At the time of the incident Didone was out on bail for another incident that occurred March 30 at the Clayton County Alternative School.
In that incident, police say, there was a fight at the school between rival gang members and Didone and a 16-year-old student said they were going to kill everybody and acted like they were getting a gun from the trunk of a car. Didone was charged with making terroristic threats and disrupting a public school.
Mashburn is accused of hiding the 9 mm used in the shooting behind Pinder's house.
The three older teens said in court Wednesday that they were not attending a school.
McWhorter said her daughter was active in school.
"She had so much life," McWhorter said.
Supported by her best friend Kim Harkness and Williams' grandmother Patricia Holden, McWhorter said that if she had to she would become an advocate in preventing future violence.
"I'm not going to let it rest," McWhorter said. "These kids need to know what's going on."
Previously Nelson's mother Lalynn Bailey had offered her condolences to Williams' family, but McWhorter and Harkness said the apology means nothing to them.
They can still see their children and write to them, Harkness said.
McWhorter said her daughter would be well missed, and some of Williams' classmates from Forest Park High School, where she was a freshman, came to Wednesday's hearing wearing shirts bearing her photograph.
"She was uplifting," said 17-year-old Randy Hambrick who said he was like a brother to Williams. "Somebody would be down and she would bring them up."
"She had a pretty smile, too," said Vanara Pom, 16, who said he planned to take Williams to the prom.
Now, instead of a prom tuxedo, Pom said he'll be buying a funeral suit.
Hambrick knew Didone and had played football with him.
"I didn't think he was like that," Hambrick said.
Nelson, Pinder, Didone and Masburn will be back in court for a preliminary hearing on May 5.
Williams' funeral is today at 1 p.m. at Mt. Nebo Baptist Church and Life Center on Moreland Avenue.