Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two14 year olds charged in homeless beating death

Wilford Hamilton, 61 years old, was probably like most homeless people living on the streets of Pontiac, Michigan-- and the streets of every city in the country-- worried about his safety, but not expecting to be murdered. But on August 21, he was severely beaten by at least two youths and he died four days later at the Pontiac Regional Medical Center.

According to the Oakland County Press, Mr. Wilford was well-known for his friendliness and his signature beret. "Frenchie," as he was affectionately called, was also an artist. The graphic on this page is his self-portrait from the f/k/a blog, which also details other attacks made on homeless people by the same boys that week.

Last week the boys were charged with first degree murder in Mr. Wilford's deathnd are being tried as adults. They attended Jefferson Middle School in Pontiac.

Last year the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness counted 79,940 homeless people in Michigan.

The National Coalition for the Homeless has listed the number of documented (far more are undocumented) attacks on homeless people by the non-homeless from 1999-2006:
Total number of violent acts over 8 years: 614
Total number of deaths over 8 years: 189
Total number of non-lethal attacks over 8 years: 425
Number of cities where crimes occurred over 8 years: 200
Number of states where crimes occurred over 8 years: 44 states plus Puerto Rico
Age ranges of the accused/convicted: from 11 to 75 years of age
Age ranges of the victims: from 4 months old to 74 years of age
Gender of victims: Male: 359 Female: 48

What does it take to stand over a man and beat him to death?


MoonRaven said...

What a horrendous thing! First of all, every person's death diminishes us. And, the vulnerabilty of the homeless, makes it all the more tragedy--those statistics are made all the more frightening by the realization they are just the tip of the iceberg. But the thing that boggles my mind is that this was done by two 14 year old boys. What causes fourteen year olds to want to beat a 61 year old man living on the street to death? What kind of world encourages this?

Constance Cumbey said...

Sadly, another person killed by these boys in the Pontiac, Michigan park beating death was Lee T. Hoffman, Jr., an attorney fallen on bad times. Hoffman who was once a successful corporate attorney in Texas struggled with alcoholism. He lost his license to practice law, but it was reinstated. It was then suspended it for failure to pay bar dues. The State Bar of Michigan still lists him, dead since the beating incident as suspended for non-payment of dues, little noticing his ignominous demise in the park beating incident. We all need to pay attention to those around us -- there for the Grace of God go any of us. We all have to stop, look around, and care.