James B. Sustache "Nino"

17 years Old
October 23, 1987 to January 11, 2005

James B. Sustache was given the nickname Nino by his older brother; it means little one or junior in Italian. A lifelong resident of Kenosha, he was a junior at Tremper High School. He worked at Pick ‘N Save grocery store, Salute’s Restaurant in Racine and at the Kenosha Country Club. He was a member of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Catholic Church and was still serving mass as a junior in high school. He was an avid football fan and had a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. One of the things that they learned in Tae Kwon is not to confront violence, to avoid confrontations and to walk away. Nino loved to talk — if you told him that you saw a falling star last night he would engage in conversation with you about the falling star. He had a German shepherd named Reggie and he trained him extremely well. One of the things the dog learned was how to open up the basement door so that he could get upstairs. Nino also had a piranha. He did have two but one ate the other and Nino was so upset when that happened. Over 2,000 people attended Nino’s wake, many people waited outside in freezing weather for hours to pay their last respects to a young man who was deeply loved by an entire community


Nino went to a New Years Eve party (2004). He was approached by a 16 year old he did not know who said to Nino “I want to fight you” and Nino said “I do not want to fight. I don’t know you.” When Nino turned away from him and then turned back to face him, the 16 year old boy punched Nino in the face. He punched Nino with such force that he ended up with 30 stitches in his mouth and he hit the pavement so fast and so hard he fractured his skull. He didn’t even get a chance to block his punch or the fall it happened so fast. Nino was in a coma and never came out of it and he died 11 days later. The 16 year old was arrested 5 days later and charged with aggravated battery; the DA office could have gotten a waiver to send him to adult court, but they chose not to. So the charges remained at aggravated battery and stayed in juvenile court. The young man who hit Nino admitted in court that he didn’t know Nino and all he got for this crime was 30 days of community service. Not one day was served in jail.

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James B. Sustache