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-- Megan Garvey and Anthony Pesce

Dispatch: 'Lord knows I wish that I could just hold him one more time, and I can’t.'

October 22, 2009 |  8:17 pm
Friends of Marvin Nicholson, the 13-year-old who was shot to death in the middle of the day in Compton, pay their last respects to him during his funeral at Simpson's Family Mortuary in Inglewood
Lakeisha Hamm has not slept in days. Each time she lies down, the killing of her 13-year old son last week in Compton replays in her mind like a movie.

She hears gunshots, rushes to the front door and sees a body drop to the ground. She knows her son is outside. She sprints toward the victim. Terror washes over her as she recognizes his shoes.

Hamm buried her son, Marvin Nicholson, today. She cried as she entered the small Inglewood chapel, filled to overflowing with more than 150 friends and family.

The location where Marvin Nicholson was shot. Credit: Google Maps

Marvin, a black youth, was the second person killed in a short stretch of Grandee Avenue this year, and one of 32 homicides in Compton in 2009. The city’s tally — although already higher than for all of last year — remains near record lows for an area that has ranked among the nation’s most violent for decades.

Marvin, a promising football player who was big for his age, was shot to death just after 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 12. He’d left the house shortly after noon to buy juice at the Compton airport’s store, said Hamm, who is five months pregnant with her sixth child.

Ann Bowlers, principal of the Tri-C Community Day School where Marvin was enrolled, said she had sent him home earlier that morning because of disciplinary problems. Bowlers said a counselor from the Children’s Institute, a local nonprofit that counsels at-risk youth, had taken Marvin to school that day to meet with her, then drove him home after he caused a disruption.

Hamm, 34, said that when Marvin got home, he was worried about his future, wondering if he would be expelled. She said he was already on juvenile probation — which she said was for stealing candy — and knew that trouble at school could cause him more legal problems.

Probation officials and his public defender said they could not discuss his history because juvenile cases are confidential.

The last thing her son said to her was that he might have to switch schools. Hamm was sitting in her apartment having her hair braided when she heard gunshots.

“I saw the guy from afar standing over him shooting his body up,” she said. “I saw a body fall, but I didn’t know it was my son. I ran off to find my son.”

Marvin, who had been shot in the head, was still breathing when she reached his side, Hamm and two other witnesses told The Times that Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were there within moments and ordered the gunman to “freeze” but that he jumped into a waiting car and fled authorities.

Lt. Joseph Gooden of the Compton sheriff’s station said he would have to talk to the deputies  to determine what happened — which he said could take several days — before commenting on the witness accounts.

Marvin was taken to a hospital and into surgery, but he was pronounced dead at 3:10 p.m.

Hamm said she thinks Marvin was targeted by a gang. She said he “didn’t want to gang-bang; he wanted to go to school.”

“Every boy over there is targeted,” she said. “That’s the reason I had to take him to and from school. People were harassing him.”

Her street has been Nutty Blocc gang territory for a long time, she said, something she never quite learned to live with.

“When you come onto or off of the Grandees, you get approached.... I don’t understand the gang life. Back in my day people used their hands to fight; now they use guns,” she said. “Lord knows I wish that I could just hold him one more time, and I can’t. I can talk to his spirit all day long, but I can’t feel his touch.”

Sheriff’s Homicide Det. Sam Dendekker said he could not discuss details of the case because it is an active inquiry. He said investigators are still working to determine a motive.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact sheriff’s homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500.

-- Anthony Pesce reporting from Inglewood

Photo: Friends of Marvin Nicholson, a 13-year-old who was shot to death in the middle of the day in Compton, pay their last respects to him during his funeral at Simpson's Family Mortuary in Inglewood. Credit: Barbara Davidson/Los Angeles Times

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The comments to this entry are closed.

Comments (58)

Tabernay Simon, The deceased is 13 years old. You claim to be his girlfriend, and I am wondering just how old are you.

As for the negative comments about the mother, I dont think they are appropriate. But I do sense that a growing number of people are just fed up with people who have children whom they cannot support on their own. I do not know her economic circumstances, therefore I will not pass judgement.

But I will say that poverty is a breeding ground for crime. And [a] single mother with lots of kids is most probably on welfare. Those are facts and cannot be denied. The mother of the deceased might have been a good mother. But wont it be interesting to know the family situation of the murderer if hes ever caught.

Grieveing Mom,

I too lost a son about two years ago circumstances close to yours. My son was an innocent bystander at a ice cream truck. I do believe that kids/children can be taken away from us and that there is no reason that can justify that. However, when we allow our kids to do the kind of stuff that this kid was on the path to doing that's when we have to stop and make someone responsible. No none of us know the circumstances of this mother or what she has gone through but we do know that she allow her child out of the house after he was basically thrown out of school! This young man was on PROBATION and had a PUBLIC DEFENDER this was not some innocent just walking down the street. Like it or not this kid made decisions and did things that in the end just might have cost him is life and for that someone will always be sad.

AS for Tabernay Simon, you are just a child too young to know any better HOWEVER, if your mother is allowing you to "date" and hand out with someone who is on probation and must have the use of a public defender at 13!! I can't even begin to imagin what path you are on right now. I hope this death teaches you something and that you turn your life around before you too are headed down a path that you can't turn back from. Even at 12, 13 or 14 years old you can still be held responsible for certain actions the best part of right now is you still have time to change.

I agree w/ syscom3,it sound like Tabernay is describing an adult boyfriend. You loved him but now what do do love?
Marvin knew you better than you know yourself? RU sure he was 13?

well this is to all the people replyin to my post

syscom3 - my age is 14 and why does it matter rather shes on welfare or not....

Sofia- i would never be on probation and yu want to noe what role im on?? well im on a d@mn gud one..a`s and some b`s
and in a couple of years i will be attending saint juliards arts academy...and please dont question me and my moms and my mom talk about everything ..i tel her things children whould never tell thier parents..reguardless if i think or knoe she will get mad

Nelcisco - if its sounds like im desrcibing an adult or not.. where is yur place to judge???? answer that...

to the 3 of yu lakeisha is going trew enough and yu people with these rude and disrepectful comments are juss plain yu guys are accting like lil kindergardners....

but really answer this

where is yur place to judge any of yu guys????
i fell no one can judge me but god...and i will rep tht slougan to the fullest...

so stop judgeing people and fix yur on flaws....

dont give me no replys on this please

♥TaBernay Simon

TaBernay Simon, youre only 14? Just what do you know about love and life?

And although I said the deceased mother's welfare status was not of concern to me, I emphatically maintain that single woman with multiple children are at an elevated risk of being in poverty and their children more prone to being the perpetrator of violent crime, or being the victim of violent crime.

And one day you too will be paying taxes and start to wonder why YOU have to support people who continually make stupid choices in life.

Before you spend to much time at an arts academy, I suggest you go to your local junior college and take some classes in statistics and the criminal justice system. You might learn something valuable.

I'm not judging you TaBernay and I'm sorry for your loss, really I am, but be honest, if you go back and read what you wrote:you had your ups and downs but at end of the day you have always seem to worked it out, you can talk to his spirit but where is his touch; you sound like a grieving widow who lost her husband, not a 14 kid that lost a 13 yr old boyfriend, and it threw me for a loop, thats all!!

Tabernay Simon,

So young and so foolish. You talk to your mom about everything and she knows everything going on in your life. Well little girl she might know but she doesn't act on the info you have given her. There's no way my daughter would having a situation with someone like this little boy. Yes I said it he was just a little boy and you are just a little girl playing grown up. You and I could go on and on about the choices you are making and about spending time with the wrong people and how spening time with the wrong people can get you killed. Or how not having his touch there for you any more can get you a kid at the age of 14 and So long to the arts academy. I don't think they let in 18 year old with kids. You are so young and have so much more learning to do. I certainly hope that you and your mom talk about everything and that she gets mad enough to show you how much she loves you instead of trying to be your best friend. After all GOD did not put her on this earth to be your best friend she put you here because you need a mother!!

Ms. Simon,

You stated that you are getting A's and B's in school and yet your writting is horrid. Too bad your mom has not made you study the basics of education a little more. Normally I would not be saying this to a little girl but since you have such grown up relationships with those around you I figured you should be able to handle an adult conversation.



About the Reporters
The Homicide Report is compiled using information from the Los Angeles County coroner's office, local law enforcement agencies and the Los Angeles Times. It is written by Times staff writers.

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