A story for every victim

A year later, no charges in killing of Compton 13-year-old

Photo: Tricia Moss wears a memorial T-shirt for her grandson, Marvin Nicholson. Credit: Sarah Ardalani / Los Angeles Times On the eve of the one-year anniversary of her 13-year old son’s killing, Lakeisha Hamm began hearing the gunshots in her head. In the living room of her Compton home, the memory played out in her mind: one shot, then seven more in rapid succession. Hamm tried to block out the noises, but they wouldn't go away. She attempted to go to sleep, but her mind was racing.

Overcome, she began praying and reading the Bible to bring some sort of peace. By 4:15 a.m. Tuesday, she had finally fallen asleep, but arose two hours later to prepare for a vigil scheduled for later in the day.

"I'm reliving it all over again," Hamm said, "and it's a battlefield within myself."

Friends and family of Marvin Nicholson gathered Tuesday night in Compton to remember his short life and the shooting that killed him.

A year ago, Marvin had been sent home from school after disrupting his classroom. He left the apartments in the 900 block of South Grandee Avenue about 12:30 p.m. to buy some juice from a local store, according to Hamm. Moments after walking out the door, a car drove up, a man got out and shot the 13-year-old eight times.

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

Marvin, who was shot in the head, was still breathing when his mother reached his side.

At the time of the shooting, sheriff's deputies happened to be in the area and attempted to capture the shooter and the getaway driver; however, the assailants managed to escape. Paramedics were called, and Marvin was taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center where he went into surgery. He was pronounced dead by 3:10.

When doctors told Hamm her son was brain dead and that he would not survive, Hamm said she could not enter his hospital room to say goodbye. It remains difficult for her to let him go.

Photo: Marvin Nicholson vigil in Compton. Credit: Sarah Ardalani / Los Angeles Times At the memorial, she stood next to votive candles and balloons placed on the sidewalk where Marvin was shot, the path still stained with his blood. Hamm told the crowd how hard it was to know that her son was gone.

"I'm selfish. I want my baby back. I want to yell at him and ask 'What you doing on MySpace?’

I had 13 years with him...I miss him. I want to hear him tell me he loves me."

She pleaded to the crowd of 30 that if anyone knew the people involved with the shooting to come forward and talk to law enforcement.

Although homicide investigators have arrested and questioned several people, they have yet to press any charges in connection with Marvin's death.

"If anyone saw something, speak out and don't be afraid of anyone but God. Someone had to see something. It shouldn't be this easy to kill someone the way they killed my son," Hamm said. "I'm going to get justice. It's going to stop. Justice will be served."

Hamm's mother, Latricia Moss, also spoke.

"This is a plea to the community. It's been a year. Now whoever killed my grandson, you need to turn yourself in. Be a man instead of a coward." Her voice got shaky, then she broke down and started to cry.

Moss talked about how Marvin was a “baby in a grown man’s body.” At the time of his death, the teen was 6’1, well over 200 pounds and was a promising football player. Those in attendance at the memorial, including Marvin’s oldest brother, Keijuan, wore Inglewood Jets football jerseys, the team Marvin used to play for.

To those close to Marvin, although he has been gone a year, it feels as though he died yesterday. About the loss of his sibling, Keijuan, 18, said, "I'm just adjusting to the fact he's not here. I'm trying and trying.” He looked down at the ground, “I can't bring him back."

Anyone with information about Marvin’s death is asked to contact Det. Sam Dendekker at the sheriff homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who would like to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

--Sarah Ardalani

Top photo: Tricia Moss wears a memorial T-shirt for her grandson, Marvin Nicholson. Credit: Sarah Ardalani / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Marvin Nicholson vigil in Compton. Credit: Sarah Ardalani / Los Angeles Times

Post a comment

Before you post, here are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Remember, all posts are approved by a Times staffer. Profanity and personal attacks will not be approved.


21 reader comments