Local News

Parents Of One Of Four Slain Durham Men Speak Out

Posted December 2, 2005 6:45 a.m. EST

— Linwood and Claudia Skinner say there's not a minute that goes by that they don't think about their son.

Two weeks ago, four young men with promising futures were shot and killed at a townhome at 2222 Alpine Road. Jonathan Skinner was one of the victims.

Claudia Skinner says she doesn't want revenge but is hopeful for justice.

"They hurt my baby -- and I need to know who they are," Skinner said.

Police say the killings were drug-related. Durham police say they are working several good leads in a shooting that shocked the community.

The Skinners don't listen to any of the negative things that are said about the murders. They believe people should not jump to conclusions too quickly.

"Were all these people involved in the negative things? No they were not," Linwood Skinner said. "These were good kids and educated kids."

The Skinners' loss is twofold.

Their nephew and their son's best friend was Lennis Harris Jr. -- one of the other victims.

The two were inseparable growing up and relied heavily on each other as young adults.

"Usually if you saw one, you saw the other," says Claudia Skinner "It's right they're together now -- always together."

All were gifted athletes and sports lovers who had just returned from a Central football game.

Then, just before 10 p.m., police say three suspects shot them execution-style.

"I just think they (the victims) cooperated with them and they didn't think that that would be the end result," said Skinner's father.

The Skinners who have relied heavily on friends, family and faith, plan to patiently wait while police follow leads and examine evidence. They also say instead of dwelling on how their son died and they plan to focus on how Jonathan Skinner lived.

Claudia Skinner says one of her son's greatest gifts was his compassion for others.

"Jonathan was the sweetest kid you could ever imagine," Claudia Skinner said.

His father agrees: "He had a good heart."