James E. Tucker III (J-Roc)
18 Years Old

March 31, 1984 to January 4, 2003

It’s really hard to think that when you give birth to a child, that you would be burying your child before you. This is not supposed to happen, especially due to a violent crime. James was my only flesh and blood born on March 31, 1984 at Fort Bragg, NC. James was given the nickname, “JROC” by his stepfather, Curtis Griffin, whom they had a tight relationship. James graduated from Phoebus High School, Hampton, VA in 2002. James was a hard worker, sometimes working two jobs. Before his death, he informaed that he wanted to enter the Army. What a blessing I thought. He wanted to serve this country for the sake of keeping America safe. James knew these guns were sweeping our streets like crazy. He wanted to get away. James didn’t want to be another African American gone from this world behind the bullet of a gun. James was shot and killed on January 4, 2003, approx 10:30 pm, on Saturday night in Hampton, VA. I remember it as if it were yesterday. No parent wants to have the authorities come to their house to inform them their child has been shot. He was shot being robbed. When I knew James was a strong African American male who could survive anything, but no, not that bullet. Once I got to the hospital, I sensed something was wrong. Once the Doctor came out, he ushered my family to this little room. At that moment my son’s whole life flashed before my eyes. He indicated the bullet traveled into my son’s side, hit a major organ and there was nothing that could be done. I screamed and cried. It was like someone just took a knife and ripped my heart completely out. My life stood still. I knew this could not be happening, not to me!! Not my family, not my child. All I wanted to do was be with him, touch him, cradle him in my arms and whisper, “it’s gonna be alright.” I thought of how I used to cradle him and kiss all his hurts away. By the time I was able to see him they had placed him in the body bag. No parent should ever have to witness this. If it had not been for my faith in God, my family and friends...I don’t know where I would be. But because of God’s almighty Grace...He gives me the strength and power to go on. I know James is watching over me. He is my guardian angel. James had his whole life ahead of him, but was taken in such a short time. I’ll never get to see him succeed to becoming an adult and marry and have children. It’s like a rock that is settled deep in your chest that will Never go away. A stump with no branches left. I hold on to those last precious moments that I shared with him. At first, it was like I was living a dream…he was only gone away and was coming back, but then Reality slapped me. No, he is never coming back, never walking through the door. No more hearing, “Mom, I love you,” or “Mom, don’t worry.”

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Having to look at the two bullies that were involved in the death of my son was like a nightmare in itself. I was sitting there literally terrified. They had taken my heart, the one I had carried for nine months, gave birth to and watched him grow for only 18 precious years to be a wonderful, sweet, and caring young man only to have him taken from me in the split of a second. John Yeoman was sentenced 108 years with 50 years suspended, he is serving his sentence at Wallens Ridge State Prison and possible release date is June 12, 2053. Also, charged was Larry Donell Ross, who received a 15 year sentence, and is serving his sentence at Haynesville Correctional Center with a possible release date of September 4, 2011. Both were convicted felons. Cherishing his memory-a devoted mother, Yvette Mouton Griffin; stepfather, Curtis L. Griffin; father, James Tucker, Jr.; stepsister, LeKia Cooper; stepbrother, Deonta’ Griffin; a devoted grandmother, Ruth C. Mouton; and grandmother, Carrie L. Tucker. His mother is a board member for the Virginia Beach Chapter POMC.

back to 26

James Tucker