Liberty City's 15th Avenue: Nine murders, Trina, Trick Daddy, and the Liberty City Seven

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But business has dropped by more than 40 percent over the past decade as costs have risen. Thirty years ago, he bought conch at $4 per pound. Today, the price has doubled. "I can't afford to close or relocate," he says. "Just to get another business off the ground, you have to invest at least $300,000."

So he remains on 15th Avenue, where his place is a beacon for rappers like Rick Ross, who have filmed videos there. Sometimes kids who have gone off to the military return for a visit. Cheap food draws everyone. "One dollar for a conch fritter ain't bad," Carr says. "You can get chicken wings, French fries, and a soda for $5. You can't beat that."

It's June 9, and Krow, the loquacious 34-year-old Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X fan, steps into the front yard of a dark-green house with a covered front porch at NW 70th Street and 15th Avenue. Dressed in baggy black jeans, a black T-shirt, and a black patent leather baseball cap, he passes flowery bushes and two tall palm trees. His black LeBron James Nikes squeak as he crosses the terrazzo floor, opens the front door, and enters the tiled living room of his parents' comfy two-bedroom abode.

His mother, Doris Manley, sits in a swivel chair watching a rerun of Bonanza on TV Land. A mulatto woman in an oversize white T-shirt, shorts, and sandals, she works as a nursing assistant at the VA hospital in Allapattah. Drawn shades and curtains dim the air-conditioned room. Doris has faced the dilemma of many 15th Avenue mothers: How to keep your children from getting sucked into the drugs and violence that so often leads to death?

She has succeeded, in part. Two daughters garnered high grades in school and exited the neighborhood. But a pair of sons, including Krow, has been drawn into the world of drugs and violence. "I've seen a lot of bad stuff," she says. "But there are a lot of good, hard-working people in the neighborhood."

Doris and her husband, Jimmy, moved to Miami from Georgia in 1974. "There were no jobs where we come from," she explains. She found work pressing garments at Dorissa, a now-defunct dress factory in midtown. "I worked there on and off for 15 years," she says. "I started off at $2 an hour." Jimmy was hired at a Coca-Cola plant on Douglas Road.

Later, Doris studied to become a nursing assistant and then secured work at a Barry University-area nursing home for 12 years. She's been at the VA since 2003. "We've never been on welfare or used food stamps," Doris says proudly. "I worked a lot of 16-hour days so the kids could wear Nike gear."

Those kids include adult daughter, Dimetria, who is now an executive for Bank of America. Then came Krow, who was born June 12, 1976. Jimmy Jr. arrived two years later. "We moved to Brownsville in 1980 and stayed there for about five years," Doris says. The youngest child, Amber, was born in 1993. She recently graduated with honors from Miami Northwestern Senior High. The walls of the house are adorned with photos of the brood. One shows Doris and Jimmy with the four children in their arms. "That's when I was young and sexy," she jokes.

Dimetria's and Amber's academic trophies fill a bookshelf holding other family mementos. "My parents taught my sisters that they don't have to settle for any dude or rely on a man to pay their bills," Krow boasts. "They can take care of themselves."

The body count on 15th Avenue rose during the family's early years here. On February 20, 1983, 45-year-old Edward Lee Griffin shot and killed 15-year-old Robert Jackson at the corner of 70th Street. Thirty-five days later, 23-year-old Paul Jackson (no relation to Robert) was murdered on 67th Street. On August 13 that year, 37-year-old Randolph Mitchell collapsed and died behind a restaurant a block from where Paul expired. He had run from a nearby abandoned house where he had been shot. On January 10, 1984, police found the body of 20-year-old Rose Bailey, who had been beaten to death in an abandoned apartment on 64th Street.

The murders played out during Miami's cocaine cowboys era, when the city led the nation in homicides for consecutive years, and the medical examiner's morgue became so crowded that the county had to lease a refrigerated trailer from Burger King for all the cadavers.

Violence arrived the very day the Manleys moved into their first home on 15th Avenue, a four-bedroom apartment on the corner of 65th Street. It was Thanksgiving 1985. "The night we got here, somebody got killed," Doris remembers. "Initially, I didn't want to live out here." Krow remembers he and his siblings walked over to the crime scene and saw the corpse. "After that, I saw bodies lying in the street all the time," he recalls blithely. "They'd be all swollen and in full rigor mortis long after the cops and the coroners had investigated the crime scene."

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Francisco Alvarado was born in Nicaragua and grew up in Miami, giving him unique insight into the Magic City and all its dark corners. An investigative reporter with a knack for uncovering corruption, Alvarado made his bones as a staff writer at Miami New Times and remains in dogged pursuit of the next juicy story.