Killer Kids

An epidemic of payback murder is wiping out a generation of inner-city youth

Now, he said, Zoe Pound is back in Little Haiti. Like other gangs, they run their drug-peddling business as efficiently as possible, using teenagers like Rod and J as street-level dealers, because they are more likely to receive light sentences if caught. "They target the young guys," Nairn said.

Much of the recent bloodshed on Miami's streets is likely a matter of tit for tat between gangs and other factions, he said. "We're very good at deploring the fact that kids get caught in the crossfire," Page said, "but we haven't gotten very good at going out to the kinfolk of the departed and saying, öDon't hit back'."

"It will get worse before it gets better," he added.

Johnny Randle, Quintin Barnett (shown), and Aspen Thermilus, all age sixteen, were charged as adults in Rod's death. Keon Williams, age fourteen (not pictured), was charged as a juvenile. All were either friends or acquaintances of Rod's
Johnny Randle, Quintin Barnett (shown), and Aspen Thermilus, all age sixteen, were charged as adults in Rod's death. Keon Williams, age fourteen (not pictured), was charged as a juvenile. All were either friends or acquaintances of Rod's
Johnny Randle
Johnny Randle

The recent killings go beyond gangs, drugs, family, race, or ethnicity, said Father Jean Ricot Gay, one of the few pastors at a North Miami antiviolence forum this past February. Inner city schools are "breeding grounds for all kinds of social ills," where kids graduate as "nonfunctional people," Gay inveighed. Without an education, there are no decent jobs to be had, he said. "If you are poor, you will get poorer, and that is sickening." Feeling powerless and "subhuman" can be enough to make some pick up a gun. "They can't express their frustration to those making decisions," he said. "That is a way to make themselves heard. It's a desperate way."

After a Liberty City march to deplore the murder wave this past February, Renita Holmes, Rod's godmother, wondered where it would all lead. "Nobody's speaking their language," she said of kids like Rod, J, and their friends. That's where the pushers push their way in, she said, giving a teenager like Rod a sense of identity and self-worth, however misdirected.

"Here go a gun," Holmes said, imitating a dealer recruiting a young charge. "Here's the dope. You're my man. I'm your daddy."


At my dad's place, a few times lately he asked me, "Do you do drugs?" And I'm like, "No. Why you asking me that?" He says, "I found this in your jeans." And he shows me one of my lighters. I say, "That's just a lighter. I mess around with it. I don't do drugs."

I got taken in last month, January 9. I wish it didn't go down like that. Got caught slingin' rock, some weed too. I was up on Miami Avenue near 76th Street, not too far from J's place. These two undercovers come up behind me as I'm waiting for the next deal. They say they saw me put a bag under the old house nearby. First time that ever happened to me. I don't want a problem, so I tell them what they want to know. I pull out the one blue bag from under the house. It's got 22 dime bags inside. Then they pat me down, pull the other bag out of my front pocket. That's got, like, 33 rocks. Crack cocaine, the cops write on their pad.

I don't know, maybe it was a mistake to tell them everything I did. Maybe I should have been smarter about it.

Anyway, I've been on probation since then, about a month. I'm not going to think about it today. It's Friday. My dad gave me $22 to go to the barber shop on Seventh Avenue up by 79th Street, the one by the liquor store, and to get some food later. But I'm headed to J's first.


On the way to J's house that day in early February, Rod probably walked past the Harvest House Outreach Center. It's just up the block from J's. On the side of the building, a run-down, little white house, there's a hand-painted sign. Two manacled hands with the word "Sin" written on them reach up to a cross that has "Jesus" written on it. A red lightning bolt from above breaks the chains. The outreach center's windows are broken, there's all kinds of trash strewn around, and little sign of life. Next door is the Outreach Mission Church of God in Christ. A sign on its fence proclaims, "He delivers from Homosexualty [sic], Prostitution, Lesbianism."

On both sides of J's house are boarded-up houses. Chickens poke along the side of the road and plastic bags hang like leaves in the trees. J's house looks empty too. Metal awnings cover its windows. There are a couple of old tires on the lawn.

What happened after Rod made his way into Randle's house is still under investigation. Randle, Quintin Barnett, and Aspen Thermilus, all age sixteen, and Keon Williams (no relation to Rod), age fourteen, told police differing stories. What does seem clear based on the investigation is that Barnett shot Rod point blank, although Barnett has claimed it was an accident. Leaving blood splotches along the way, the boys then dragged Rod's body to the back yard, where they covered it with a wood plank, according to police. They burned T-shirts they had used to try to clean up the blood and then, at nightfall, moved the body. Wheeling it in a residential trash bin, the boys made their way four blocks south to a Little Haiti furniture factory among several auto body shops. They heaved Rod's body, wrapped in plastic bags, into an industrial dumpster.

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18 comments
Toneyfred58
Toneyfred58

We catch u we gon kill u quinton believe dat chump

Briancartwright1
Briancartwright1

my name is preal branel am from the Bahamas am looking for the family of Luckson Branel can someone help me find them please

charlie
charlie

this man is sick he kiled everyone accept one girl i wish going over seeing how he fills if i gave him what he done im sorry but that is disgusting i am watching a programme about her she is brave and wish she had a family like us she coping really well she a very strong girl

robinson
robinson

wow ...man i cant believe this...? me and rod grew up in the sme neighborhodd..... we went to little river together and than we both went to horace mann middle school... where me and rod had world history class together and that same week on that wednesdays we both was in class to gether talking about ow the school got alot of hoes n i know quentin n all the others boyz bt i woulda neva tought they would do that but man ... rod man i love u dawg n i miss u man..i truly do man ..n only god knows where you are but for you niggas who did this ..ya gona pay big time

NIKKI
NIKKI

IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS STORY THEY TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER-IN-LAW GETTIN KILLED, EDWIN TERMA. THEY SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC SLAYINGS, AND IT WAS.....IT WAS COMPLETELY UNECESSARY WHAT HAPPENED....ALOT OF THESE GUYS ARE DYING OVER STUPID STUFF..LIKE FOR INSTANCE MY BROTHER IN LAW GOT KILLED FOR SOME STUPID STUFF THATS BEEN GOIN ON SINCE SCHOOL HOUSE DAYS...WHY WOULD YOU KILL SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU WERE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL? NOW EDWIN HAS 2 SONS THAT WILL NEVER KNOW HIM, WHAT ARE THEIR MOMS SUPPOSED TO TELL THEM? I JUST THINK THAT ALL OF THIS IS RIDICULOUS! PEOPLE JUST NEED TO THINK BEFORE THEY ACT, THEY GOTTA THINK, ITS NOT YOUR PLACE TO TAKE SOMEONE FROM THIS WORLD....ITS GOD'S PLACE...THESE PEOPLE HAVE FAMILES AND GIRLFRIENDS AND WIVES AND KIDS...BUT NOBODY EVER THINKS ABOUT THAT BEFORE THEY PULL THE TRIGGER....2006 WAS THE WORST YEAR FOR US...7 OF MY CLOSE FRIENDS GOT KILLED THAT YEAR, AND ALL OVER SOMETHING SO STUPID....I JUS WISH THAT THESE GUYS WOULDNT RESORT TO VIOLENCE SO MUCH, ESPICALLY FOR THE PETTY STUFF, ITS JUS NOT COOL TO KILL SOMEONE OVER SOMETHING SO PETTY, IF YOUR GONNA TAKE A MAN'S LIFE, AT LEAST MAKE IT SO IT'S WORTH DYING FOR, WHICH STILL SHOULDNT BE ANYONES DECISION BUT GOD'S....BUT YOU CANT TELL THESE YOUNG GUYS NOTHING, THEY ARE GONNA DO WHAT THEY DO REGARDLESS, I JUS WISH THAT THEY WOULD WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT THEYRE RUINING THEIR LIVES...THINK ABOUT IT, EITHER THESE GUYS LOST THEIR LIVES AND WAS TAKEN FROM THIS EARTH, OR THEY LOST THEIR LIVES, CUZ THERYE GONNA BE SITTIN IN JAIL FOR THE REST OF IT....ITS NOT WORTH IT, ITS REALLY NOT...REST IN PEACE TO ALL THE FALLEN SOLGIERS AND REST IN PEACE TO ANYONE THATS LOST SOMEONE, CUZ I KNOW IVE LOST QUITE A FEW AND IT HURTS...REST IN PEACE EDWIN, YVON, PETER, COVINGSTON, LAMAR, LUCKSON, LEE, AND ENEL...YOU GUYS WILL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS...WE MISS YOU....

NIKKI
NIKKI

IN THE BEGINNING OF THIS STORY THEY TALK ABOUT MY BROTHER-IN-LAW GETTIN KILLED, EDWIN TERMA. THEY SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST DRAMATIC SLAYINGS, AND IT WAS.....IT WAS COMPLETELY UNECESSARY WHAT HAPPENED....ALOT OF THESE GUYS ARE DYING OVER STUPID STUFF..LIKE FOR INSTANCE MY BROTHER IN LAW GOT KILLED FOR SOME STUPID STUFF THATS BEEN GOIN ON SINCE SCHOOL HOUSE DAYS...WHY WOULD YOU KILL SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU WERE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL? NOW EDWIN HAS 2 SONS THAT WILL NEVER KNOW HIM, WHAT ARE THEIR MOMS SUPPOSED TO TELL THEM? I JUST THINK THAT ALL OF THIS IS RIDICULOUS! PEOPLE JUST NEED TO THINK BEFORE THEY ACT, THEY GOTTA THINK, ITS NOT YOUR PLACE TO TAKE SOMEONE FROM THIS WORLD....ITS GOD'S PLACE...THESE PEOPLE HAVE FAMILES AND GIRLFRIENDS AND WIVES AND KIDS...BUT NOBODY EVER THINKS ABOUT THAT BEFORE THEY PULL THE TRIGGER....2006 WAS THE WORST YEAR FOR US...7 OF MY CLOSE FRIENDS GOT KILLED THAT YEAR, AND ALL OVER SOMETHING SO STUPID....I JUS WISH THAT THESE GUYS WOULDNT RESORT TO VIOLENCE SO MUCH, ESPICALLY FOR THE PETTY STUFF, ITS JUS NOT COOL TO KILL SOMEONE OVER SOMETHING SO PETTY, IF YOUR GONNA TAKE A MAN'S LIFE, AT LEAST MAKE IT SO IT'S WORTH DYING FOR, WHICH STILL SHOULDNT BE ANYONES DECISION BUT GOD'S....BUT YOU CANT TELL THESE YOUNG GUYS NOTHING, THEY ARE GONNA DO WHAT THEY DO REGARDLESS, I JUS WISH THAT THEY WOULD WAKE UP AND REALIZE THAT THEYRE RUINING THEIR LIVES...THINK ABOUT IT, EITHER THESE GUYS LOST THEIR LIVES AND WAS TAKEN FROM THIS EARTH, OR THEY LOST THEIR LIVES, CUZ THERYE GONNA BE SITTIN IN JAIL FOR THE REST OF IT....ITS NOT WORTH IT, ITS REALLY NOT...REST IN PEACE TO ALL THE FALLEN SOLGIERS AND REST IN PEACE TO ANYONE THATS LOST SOMEONE, CUZ I KNOW IVE LOST QUITE A FEW AND IT HURTS...REST IN PEACE EDWIN, YVON, PETER, COVINGSTON, LAMAR, LUCKSON, LEE, AND ENEL...YOU GUYS WILL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS...WE MISS YOU....

Morrisminor
Morrisminor

Most of the victims are black, big deal, almost all the killers are black too. If you expect sympathy from most people about black on black crime, you are mistaken. Blacks reap what they sow, when most of the heroes and role models are criminals. Better black on black crime than black on white crime.

Samantha
Samantha

I Knew Rod From Little River Elementary and Horace Mann Middle. I Had A big Crush On Him...He Was Real Good At football.Man I Moved To Georgia Our Eighth Grade Year When He Went to brownsville Middle.When My Friend Retravia Called Me And Told Me Rod Had Died..I Burst Out Into Tears...Man i Miss Rod..I Tried To Keep In Contact With Him When i moved But Nobody Knew His Number...I Feel Sorry For His Family!

cadillac jack
cadillac jack

hey this story right here is real sad. His own homeboyz that he grew up with. what type of shit is that! Young kids that ain't even have to end their lives. Their lives are basically over......they are in the system now which will make it that much harder for the young african americans. oh but they sure as hell deserve the maximum punishment and then some.

lilliana
lilliana

it is really sad how teens today are losing tjeir lives. if they are not killed by police, they are killing each other. it is terrifying because now we all fear for aour lives as we walk we are constatly looking back and hoping that were are the next.as a teen i must say tthe year 2006 was the most bloodies year i lost alot of people, but i have come to realized i can't longer cry for their soulos are in a better place. may their memories be forever cherished.

RUDERAIDERS
RUDERAIDERS

hi Nikki it seems like you know Luckson Branel my real name is Pearl Branel and my adopted name is Melden Reckley i think we can be family i was looking for my family for a long time and i really need some help finding them am from the Bahamas and i was watching a&e tv and i saw the name Luckson Branel and i said this got to be a link so if u get this can u you please text me back i know you might be bizzy doing other things but if you can help me locate them i will be more than greatful thank you very much looking forward too here from you from Pearl Branel

Briancartwright1
Briancartwright1

this is luckson brother from the Bahamas am trying to find the family can you help me please

Yaya
Yaya

well if your brother in law's gang didn't shoot an 18month old baby, maybe his death (as well as others) couldve been preventable. If you have a problem with someone, okay. But taking a life of an innocent child is unacceptable. Imagine if your child was shoot in front of you with an AK. That baby head blew off of its body. You live by the gun, so guess what? you die by it. No on is to blame but themselves. RIP to all.

ruderaiders
ruderaiders

email me and tell me what u no ruderaiders@hotmail.com

RUDERAIDERS
RUDERAIDERS

MY NAME IS MELDEN RECKLEY AM 32 YEARS OLD AM FROM THE BAHAMAS I WAS ADOPTED FROM A BABY I FIRST LEARNED MY REAL NAME WHEN I WAS ABOUT 16 YEARS OLD ITS PEARL BRANEL FROM THEN I WAS TRYING TO LOCATE MY REAL FAMILY I ASK AROUND BUT NO ONE KNEW BUT WHEN I WAS WATCHING A&E AND SAW LUCKSON BRANEL WITH THE SEEM LAST NAME I FIGURED THAT HE COULD BE MY FAMILY SO IF ANY ONE OUT THERE IS READING THIS AM ASKING YOU TOO PLEASE HELP ME TO LOCATE THE FAMILY THEY COULD BE MY FAMILY I REALLY WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MYREAL MOM PLEASE

Drecarter239
Drecarter239

email me drecarter239@gmail.com...i can help

 
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