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      All done. I did good. Shed a few tears but I was strong.
     I received this text from Latoya Hunter-Harvey yesterday. She had just been interviewed and filmed for a movie produced by Texas attorney Linda Broocks, a documentary about mothers whose children are on death row. Latoya was chosen as one of five mothers from across the country.
     Her son, Jakeem Towles, is on death row in Greene State Prison near Pittsburgh. He was sentenced in Lancaster on June 11, 2012 following a jury trial for the killing of Cornell Anton Stewart in Columbia on May 7, 2010.
     I attended portions of the trial and met his mother, Latoya, but was not there when the jury returned with death.
     This is going to be the hardest decision of your lives. This is the hardest thing for all of us.
Part of my heart is gone. I’ve dreaded this day. I’ve dreaded this moment. I don’t know if I’m good enough to do this.
I wish I could sit down and talk with you. I wish we could have a conversation.
You have been attentive jurors. The trust we have in you is deserved.

Defense attorney Patricia Spotts addressing the jurors yesterday afternoon in her closing argument to save Jakeem Towles from the death penalty.
(Click here.)
     I stayed in touch with her over the years and had an extensive conversation with her about her trips to Pittsburgh to visit Jakeem in prison. She mentioned another son – Thomas Greene – who she said had been sentenced unfairly as the only African-American involved in a crime. I briefly looked him up several years ago but did not research his case thoroughly. And then last year came the good news that Greene had appealed his sentence to the Superior Court and won and would be resentenced shortly. I said I would come.
     I spent the weekend before on the internet looking up his record and the records of everyone else involved in the crime. I made a chart to keep track of it all:

Name                          Age            Sentence           Judge 

Kyle Allenworth          17                4-10                Wright 

Bradley Isaacs            18                5-15                Wright 

Dylan March                20                5-1/2-20         Knisely 

Joshua Maldonado      18                8-1/2-20         Reinaker 

Thomas Greene           17                16-35              Miller 

(Click here.)

     It was an eye-opening shock yet again to the blatant racism in the Lancaster County justice system.
     And his re-sentencing by Judge Margaret Miller would be a terrible blow to the 20 family and friends who attended and were hoping for “time-served.”
     Through the struggles and the pain, Latoya, has raised two other children –
     Taqoya (pictured below) who graduated from McCaskey last year and Jaqon (pictured in this morning’s post with his mother), her youngest son who also graduated from McCaskey this past Thursday – two days before Latoya was interviewed for the documentary. Latoya wrote, “Through all of our storms, he made it through.”
     There are stories that need to be told. There are terrible injustices that need to be corrected. Rarely does so much happen to one family. Rarely does a mother stay this strong and hopeful through it all.
     Jakeem Towles should not be on death row and Thomas Greene has done his time and should be free. LIP News will stay on these stories until justice is done.



Please check back later today.


15 Responses to * A LIP NEWS EXCLUSIVE

  1. Anonymous2 says:

    You always love your children. All your children. You don’t need to exploit to the notoriety that your murderer child brings you to put yourself front and center expecting people to hang on your every word.

  2. huh? says:

    I understand your point of view, anonymous2. However, if my son murdered someone, would I owe an apology to the family? I don’t think so.

    I would offer my sympathy to the family for sure but in no way would I be responsible for the actions of an adult who happens to be my kid. And I can understand loving your children regardless of what they do. You don’t love the crimes or anything else but love isn’t a switch you can turn off. Especially when it comes to your kids.

  3. Anonymous2 says:

    Actually, huh?, what I did was appropriate. Timothy McVeigh wasn’t an only child either. There are thousands of mothers in Lancaster with no murderers as their children. No one is seeking any of them out or wanting to listen to them. What puts Latoya out front and center is the son who is a murderer. And no, I still don’t want to hear from her. I am glad some of her other children aren’t in jail. But this isn’t about race. Too many people make everything about race. I don’t want to hear from the parents of criminals. Other than, “I’m so sorry!”

  4. huh? says:

    PS – Becky and others have you noticed that in the past six months or so that the LNP is suddenly covering ‘feel good stories’ about minorities who live in the city? I would love to believe it is because they are finally turning the corner and recognizing the diversity of the city. But this CRIZ money thing makes me my usual skeptical self.

    And I also saw that they’ve sworn in two new officers. The usual ethnic make up for Lancaster with one of them being a woman. I wonder if she will have to wear that Colonel Klink style hat or if that is reserved for the dicks, er, detectives on the force.

  5. huh? says:

    “I don’t agree. I don’t blame the mothers, but I don’t want to hear one word from Timothy McVey’s, or Tabitha Buck’s, or Jakeem Towles’ mother. They have nothing to say that I want to hear.”

    Do you see what you did there? You lumped his mother in with the murderers. And then dismissed her. She had four children. One of them went way wrong. Another one committed a crime that he is paying for at a much steeper rate than the others convicted at the same time. And then she has two that have done well and graduated against all odds. If she has to take “credit” for the son who murdered then she should also be able to take credit for the three that didn’t and the two that seem to be OK. The odds of that happening were astronomical compared to families in the burbs who have one kid who goes completely wrong.

  6. Gee Wiz says:

    Wow……well I give him credit and my heart goes out to the family. Thanks for the answer

  7. Gee Wiz says:


    Thomas didn’t express remorse did he ? Did he behave like the Boston bomber during his trial ?

    Yours Truly
    G. Wizz

  8. Gee Wiz says:

    But Thomas’s grand father says Thomas is really more mature and considerate now.

    I guess my earlier blog isn’t going to be posted ?

    • Becky says:

      Gee Wiz, it would take too long to answer and I’m busy right now. But it will be posted and then I will answer it! 🙂

  9. Anonymous2 says:

    And the only thing I would have to say if one of my kids ever harmed anyone would be “I’m so sorry”, and I’d say it forever.

  10. Anonymous2 says:

    I don’t agree. I don’t blame the mothers, but I don’t want to hear one word from Timothy McVey’s, or Tabitha Buck’s, or Jakeem Towles’ mother. They have nothing to say that I want to hear. Let’s hear from the mothers of victims of their crimes.

  11. Barry in Winnipeg says:

    Okay, this may be controversial, but why have the death penalty at all? The United Kingdom abolished it, Canada abolished it, several states in the USA have done away with it. Even once sentenced, the costs of appeals and delays make a mockery of our justice system, and worst of all are the mistakes in which innocent people were put to death, with no way of righting that wrong.I’m pushing 72, and I doubt I will ever see the day when Pennsylvania closes down its capital punishment for good. As for Mrs. Hunter-Harvey, good for you for being there for your children!

  12. huh? says:

    Unfortunately, Mrs. Hunter-Harvey will always be defined, in Lancaster, by her son on death row rather than the two children pictured above. Anything she says that carries any weight and might make people think will be cancelled out by the actions of Jakeem who is on death row. That is how it’s done in Lancaster and other places where racism is the norm and longstanding.

    I don’t know if you have followed the international stories about where the racists and bigots tend to live in the US; one of the biggest red dots is smack dab over the Lancaster area and on into Pennsyltucky. I believe it is either the Washington Post or the New York Times that has posted those maps on facebook and other news feeds.