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That Smiling Face
March 6, 2009 - Joe Gorman
To see Maressia Patterson's smile, one can not help thinking that the girl nicknamed ``Pie' had endless possibilities.
Unfortunately, those possibilities were taken away by a bullet fired by Deon Glenn, who was sentenced to at least 35 years in prison Friday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for her death, the wounding of a friend and the shots he fired at four others in a crowd that was walking down Ford Avenue on the North Side just after midnight on May 26, 2007, as they were returning home from a party.
The sentencing hearing Friday before Judge Lou D'Apolitio was one of the most intense I've ever covered; the mother of the defendant asked for a hug from the mom of the victim and got it, yet she told Glenn just before she walked out of court to think about the ``mess' he created.
I feel sorry for his mom but Glenn is one of the most unintelligible (sp?) human beings I have ever run across. The only words I could make out in his low, rumbling monotone were ``I'm sorry' and it was hard to get any sense of remorse out of him.
By all accounts, Patterson and her friends were good kids and the case was not one of your typical thug on thug murders that fill up the docket in common pleas court. One of the witnesses, a friend of Pattersons, has such an engaging personality that he should be on the Tonight Show. Cops and courtroom staffers alike raved about what good kids they are.
I worked the Saturday Patterson was killed and was at her home speaking to her mother and others about Maressia, who I was told loved to laugh and was never out to hurt anyone. Once I saw the smile in her school picture, I almost burst into tears myself.
As I've written before, I identify with parents who have buried children; I've done it myself, yet it was not from an ``unnatural act.' Maressia's mom, Rachel Wilkins, addressed the court and D'Apolito was so moved that he commented on how dignified she was, another rarity.
Although I did not know her, just looking at that smile, I wish I did. We are all the poorer for not having it around anymore, and although someone paid for her death, it does not bring a smile to anybody's face.
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