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Life story
1991
 
December 31, 1991
 

Timmy was born on December 31, 1991, New Year's Eve.  He was my third son, my baby boy.  He has two older brothers.  I raised my boys on my own for Timmy's whole life, so we were very close.  He was my little buddy, everywhere I went I took him with me.  he loved to go out to eat, or just drive to the store so he could listen to the radio.  His favorite artist was Tupac.  He had lots of friends, they would come over to our house because Timmy didn't like to wander the streets.  He'd rather stay home and play video games on his Xbox 360, his favorite games were Oblivian.  He also liked to listen to music, work out, jump on the trampoline doing all kinds of tricks and somersauts in the air or flips that would make me nervous when he'd say "mom come look what I can do", I'd go out and close my eyes and he'd ask me did you see that, and I'd be like yeah that was crazy but really I couldn't watch because it would get me so nervous!  He had the best laugh in the world.  If you were in a room with him and he started to laugh, you'd just start laughing because of it even if you didn't think whatever happened was funny, his laughter was that infectious.  And he had the sweetest crooked smile and the biggest blue eyes.  My only son who kept the baby blue eyes, just like my dad.  Timmy was a good kid, he was a good friend, he was kind to animals he'd bring home strays and try to keep all those he found.  He just loved animals!  Any kind from snakes to cats to dogs, you name it. He always helped out neighbors, painting houses to just cleaning out closets.  He'd help anyone who asked and offered when not asked.  He would run to the store for you, or take out your trash, that was just the way he was and he never expected anything in return.  He had the kindest, trusting heart that anyone could ever have.  No one will ever replace this kind spirit God had blessed me with.

July 13, 2007
 

On July 13, 2007 which was a Friday the 13th, my son went to the store with a friend of my oldest son.  This friend, Dame as he was known as, did landscaping and often would have the younger kids go with him to earn some money during the summer while they were off from school.  Timmy was to go with him on that Friday.  Dame was staying at my house off and on at the request of my oldest son, who had told me that Dame was in a very bad relationship with a girl he had a daughter with.  He had no where else to go when they would fight and my son offered that he could stay with us for the time being.  Dame was not a bad person, he had problems, but he was very respectful and always treated me and my family with only kindness.  Well that night, right when I was going to bed, Timmy was on the computer.  I said to him I'm going to bed and not to stay up late, he told me "I won't, I'm tired" my last words to my son was "ok baby-cakes, I love you sweet dreams" and I rubbed his head, I can still feel his hair on my fingertips.  Well Timmy did fall asleep only to be woken up by a friend of his, who now feels terrible guilt by waking him up (she thinks that if she didn't wake him up he'd still be alive) but from what I understand, he didn't go back to sleep.  Instead Dame started to show Timmy how to use the landscaping equipment, how to run the mower and the weed whacker, etc.  Then he asked Timmy if he'd walk him to the store, even though it was very late at night, Timmy never felt he should be afraid in his neighborhood, and he was with an adult (Dame was 26 years old) and the store was right around the corner.  So off they went to get snacks for that night and for the next day, I was told he even bought me an apple pie because he knew how much I liked them.  Nothing unusual happened at the store, they bought there items and left.  As they were walking home on the street one block up from me, they were ambushed.  My son was murdered in what they call "execution stye".  He was shot in the back of his head and died instantly.  Dame was shot also, the bullet going thru his neck and severing his spine, he died at the hospital two days later.  As of this date, there has been an arrest.  Two men are being held for double murder, I cannot go into specifics as the trial has not been held yet.  My son did not deserve to die like this, Dame did not deserve to die like this.  Shot like their life didn't matter, a good boy taken away for what???  My "why's" will never get answered, even if they did there will never be a good enough reason as to why, "why would you kill my baby?"  NEVER -  I love you Timmy with all my heart and soul, I think of you every single day you are the first thing I think of in the morning and the last before I close my eyes and a million times throughout the day.  My life will never be the same without you, you were my buddy, my baby boy, my baby-cakes and nothing will ever take this pain away.

September 6, 2008
 

Posted on Wed, Sep 17, 2008


Two NE men charged in July 2007 Tacony murders
By John Loftus; Assistant Editor
A preliminary hearing has been scheduled this week for two men accused of gunning down a Tacony teenager and his friend in July 2007.On Sept. 6, police charged Gerald Drummond, 24, and Robert McDowell, 26, in the July 13, 2007, deaths of 15-year-old Timothy Clark and family friend Damien Holloway, 27.
Drummond and McDowell face murder, conspiracy and weapons charges. They remain in custody.
Timothy Clark's mother, Bette, Monday that she still doesn't know why her son and Holloway were killed and added that police, who doggedly pursued the case, have not told her the motives for the slayings.
"They won't go into any great detail," she said. She said Drummond's sister was Holloway's girlfriend and gave birth to his daughter and that her son knew both Drummond, of the 6800 block of Tulip and McDowell, of the 6400 block of Edmond Street from the neighborhood.
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Police last year had said they believed whoever killed Timothy and Holloway had been waiting for them at 2 a.m. July 13, 2007, as they walked back to the Clark home on the 6800 block of Vandike Street from a Torresdale Avenue convenience store.
Holloway was staying with the Clarks. He had started at lawn-mowing service with Tim's help. The two were returning home after buying snacks for the next work day when they were shot.
The teen, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.
Holloway, of the 2000 block of North 11th Street, also was shot in the head.
He was hospitalized and died two days later. But why were they killed? Most urban shooting victims have prior criminal records, but that wasn't true of Clark or Holloway. Were the shootings racially motivated? The two accused men and the Clark family all are white. Holloway was black.
"I don't know," Mrs. Clark said. "My son was killed because he was there. He was a witness and he knew them from the neighborhood."
The Citizens Crime Commission administered a reward offered for information about the murders, but Mrs. Clark repeatedly had said in the last year that no one had come forward.
A spokesman for the commission said Tuesday that he doubted the reward would be collected. Detectives investigating the case, Mrs. Clark said, promised to solve it and he did. "They worked very hard."
There had been rumors about McDowell, she said. And she had witnessed Drummond on a street brawl. "I saw him pick a guy up and throw him to the ground," she said. McDowell and Drummond both have criminal records.
The Homicide Fugitive Squad, S.W.A.T. and U.S. marshals arrested McDowell in his home, police announced. Drummond also was arrested at his residence.
Mrs. Clark said she was glad there have been arrests but felt nervous about the upcoming hearings and trial. "That's why I'm a wreck," she said Monday.
"It's something you'll never get over," she said. "He was my baby."
Contact John Loftus at jloftus@newsgleaner.com

December 10, 2008
 

Two held for trial
in Clark murders

By William Kenny
Times Staff Writer

Timmy Clark wasn’t old enough to drive a car, let alone join the military.
But in the distorted view of one of his alleged murderers, the Tacony teen "was just a casualty" in a racism-fueled war between a black man and the brother of his white girlfriend, according to court testimony heard last week.
At the end of a contentious preliminary hearing on Dec. 10, Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon ordered two Tacony men to stand trial on general murder charges stemming from the execution-style shootings of Clark, 15, and friend Damien Holloway, 27, on July 13, 2007.
Gerald Drummond, 24, of the 6800 block of Tulip St., and Robert McDowell, 26, of the 6400 block of Edmund St., are being held without bail because they are charged with a capital offense. No trial date has been set.
Tension filled the courtroom as DeLeon warned the defendants repeatedly about motioning toward and attempting to communicate with witnesses and members of the audience during breaks in testimony.
The judge threatened to gag Drummond and McDowell if it continued.
Meanwhile, in a gallery separated from the litigants by bullet-proof glass, there was sporadic verbal sparring between supporters of the defendants and attendees who were family and friends of the victims.
Drummond and McDowell allegedly cornered Holloway and Clark on the 6900 block of Vandike St. at about 2:20 a.m. as the victims walked to Clark’s home after visiting a nearby convenience store.
Holloway was living with Clark and his family on the 6800 block of Vandike St. Clark worked for Holloway’s lawn service.
McDowell, the brother of Drummond’s fiancée, pulled a gun on the victims as he and Drummond ordered them to their knees.
Then Drummond allegedly took the gun and shot each victim once in the head.
In the absence of any known eyewitnesses, police homicide detectives spent more than a year investigating the case before developing enough evidence to arrest the suspects last Sept. 6.
During last week’s hearing, witnesses after the fact testified under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Christine Wechsler that Drummond had a "beef" with Holloway, who had fathered a child with Drummond’s sister Andrea before that relationship went sour.
Holloway, who was black, fist-fought with Drummond, who is white, on at least one occasion, with Drummond getting the better of it, said Thomas Zehnder, a close friend of Holloway’s and former neighbor of Drummond’s. Later, Holloway’s brother got the better of Drummond in another fistfight, Zehnder said.
After the killings, Drummond told acquaintances that, "The nigger got what he deserved," according to Nicole Penrose and Amy Rudnitskas, who identified themselves as close friends of Drummond.
Rudnitskas, who is the mother of two children with Drummond’s older brother, David, said that Holloway and Andrea Drummond lived with Drummond’s mother, Shirley, at one point. Rudnitskas and David Drummond lived there at the same time, she testified.
Penrose, who said she considers Drummond "like my brother," testified that he admitted to her on three occasions that he pulled the trigger. The first time occurred when she saw Drummond using a cloth to carry a gun into his basement through a secret trap door in his living room.
Drummond told her he "had to get rid of it" and planned to dispose of the gun in the Delaware River, Penrose claimed.
The witness testified that Drummond later told her how he and McDowell got the jump on Holloway and Clark. McDowell had the gun, but "bitched up" and couldn’t bring himself to shoot the victims, Penrose said, so Drummond did the deed.
"The only reason the little boy got shot was because he was a witness," Penrose said.
Rudnitskas said that Drummond described Clark "as just a casualty."
Zehnder testified that he heard Drummond tell a group of people at a house party that "He laid them down and killed them. He said he was tired of (Holloway’s) s—-. I wasn’t clear on why he had a beef.
"He said it was a loose end he had to tie up pretty much."
Drummond also boasted about the murders.
"He said he was an ‘O.G.’ now," Zehnder testified.
In street slang, O.G. is short for "original gangster."
A fourth witness, McDowell’s fiancé, recanted her own signed statement to police implicating McDowell and Drummond in the murders.
When called to the stand by Wechsler, Erica Marrero strode through a courtroom aisle while muttering comments under her breath and pointing at someone in the Clark and Holloway contingent.
Marrero testified that McDowell was at the couple’s home throughout the night of the murders and was "producing music" with a friend until about 2:30 a.m.
In her signed statement to police, Marrero said McDowell told her that he and Drummond committed the murders. But in court, Marrero claimed that cops fabricated her statement and that she signed it under duress, fearing she might lose her child or a new job if she didn’t do it.
"I did it just to get out of there. I didn’t even read it. I just signed it," Marrero pleaded to the court amid an outburst of tears.
"This is the first one I’ve seen like this," Judge DeLeon noted. "It may not be the last, but it’s the first."
Adding another layer of intrigue to the case, each of the witnesses admitted to being addicted to drugs around the time of the murders or in subsequent months as the victims’ families pleaded publicly for someone to step forward with information about the case.
Penrose, known on the street as "Nic-Nac," said she was a heroin addict and dealer who used to sell dope to Zehnder and Marrero. She testified that Gerald Drummond sold heroin, too.
Authorities in Cape May County, N.J., imprisoned Penrose this year on drug charges.
She remained in custody until last week when New Jersey authorities dropped the charges in exchange for her cooperation in the Clark-Holloway case. Penrose said she had not spoken with anyone from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office about the murder case.
Marrero told the court that she was in drug rehab from January to April this year.
Rudnitskas testified that she had spent years addicted to heroin and was "messed up on drugs" when she heard Gerald Drummond discuss the murders. She claimed she’s been "clean" for two months.
Zehnder, who is known by the nickname "Turtle," told the court that he’s now serving jail time, but he didn’t specify his crime. He admitted having been an intravenous heroin user, but was not high on the drug when he heard Drummond discuss the murders. He had smoked some marijuana that night, however.
Drummond’s attorney, Allan J. Sagot, argued that the testimony of prosecution witnesses is unreliable.
"All we have is after-the-fact conversations between drug users and dealers, and who knows what condition they were in?" Sagot said.
McDowell’s attorney, Daniel H. Greene, argued that his client should not face trial for first-degree murder because he didn’t fire the fatal shots.
"There has been testimony that he had a gun (and) that he didn’t have the heart — (that) he couldn’t do it," Greene said. "You cannot assume that there’s shared criminal intent when (witnesses) have said over and over again that he couldn’t do it."
DeLeon upheld the capital charges against McDowell, noting that, according to witness testimony, he introduced the gun to the confrontation and took part in the "set-up" of the executions before the gun changed hands. ••
Reporter William Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or bkenny@phillynews.com

December 10, 2008
 

We had our preliminary hearing today.  It was God awful.  I pray that God watchs over my guardian angel Timmy and bless him for ever.  If what is said was true, I hope these men suffer terrible consequences and may God put pain and suffering in their disgusting lives forever.

Please see news articles from 2 local papers that covered the story at the trial.

Posted on Thu, Dec. 11, 2008


Two held for trial in double slaying
By Joseph A. Slobodzian

Inquirer Staff Writer


The double slaying of 15-year-old Timothy Clark and family friend Damien Holloway, 27, on July 13, 2007, was among three deaths and six shootings on an extraordinarily violent evening during one of Philadelphia's most deadly summers.
The early-morning execution-style killings in Tacony were particularly puzzling. There was a considerable difference in the victims' ages, and Clark was white and Holloway black.

Yesterday, a Philadelphia judge heard witnesses testify that Holloway was shot to death by Gerald Drummond because of his race and because he'd "disrespected" Drummond's sister, with whom Holloway had a child and a volatile relationship.

"The [racist epithet] got what he deserved," Drummond told her, testified Amy Rudnitskas, who said she had two children with Drummond's older brother.

As for Clark, Rudnitskas, testifying between sobs, said Drummond told her "the little boy" had to die because he was a witness, "a loose end."

"Timmy was a casualty of war," Drummond said, according to Rudnitskas.

The chilling account of the slayings played out yesterday in a tense, emotional three-hour hearing. When it ended, Drummond, 24, and Robert McDowell, 26, were held for trial on murder and conspiracy charges by Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon.

"I knew this was racial," said Holloway's father, Eugene Holloway, after the hearing. "I know from what I've heard from them [Drummond and McDowell]."

"How can someone do this because of the color of his skin?" added Bette Clark, Timothy's mother.

Clark described Holloway as a family friend who lived in her house and had asked her son to help in his lawn-cutting business.

With no witnesses to the killings and no murder weapon recovered, Drummond and McDowell were incriminated by four witnesses: friends and relatives who testified the pair told them of the shootings and motives.

Several times Drummond - and two witnesses - had to be warned by DeLeon to stop trying to communicate across the courtroom.

At one point Drummond looked at witness Nicole Penrose and mouthed: "Why are you doing this to me?"

"Why did you do it?" replied Penrose, a childhood friend who said Drummond was "like my brother."

Later, after three warnings by deputy sheriffs, DeLeon threatened to have Drummond and McDowell bound and gagged because they allegedly were turning around, glaring at and trying to intimidate the Clark and Holloway families.

"It was making me feel uncomfortable," said Bette Clark afterward, referring to Drummond. "I just can't understand this. He knew Timmy, he knew our family."

Clark wept when she heard how her son and Holloway were forced to kneel on the sidewalk in the 6900 block of Vandike Street, hands behind their heads, and then each shot once in the head.

Clark spoke warmly of her son and Holloway. Clark said the two went out to the 7-Eleven around the corner to buy snacks for the next day's lawn jobs.

The witnesses presented by Assistant District Attorney Christine Wechsler said Drummond and McDowell were angry that Drummond's sister Andrea had become involved with and had a child with a black man.

At some point earlier in 2007, witnesses testified, Drummond and Holloway got into a fight that Holloway lost. Holloway's brother then took on and beat Drummond.

Witnesses testified that on July 13, 2007, McDowell and Drummond were out on the Tacony streets looking for Holloway. McDowell allegedly brought a revolver.

About 2:20 a.m., witnesses said the pair told them, the two saw Holloway and Clark walking home on Vandike Street, cornered them, and killed them.

Penrose said Drummond told her the September after the murders that McDowell was supposed to have been the shooter but didn't have the nerve to pull the trigger, "so I had to handle it."

In querying the witnesses, defense attorneys Allan J. Sagot and Daniel H. Greene questioned their credibility, eliciting the fact that all were drug users and that several were heavily addicted when the events occurred.

Witness Erica Marrero, who said her sister-in-law is McDowell's fiancee, tried to recant her statement to homicide detectives, contending detectives badgered her over 12 hours into implicating the two men.

Wechsler, however, argued that Marrero also signed every page of the statement and initialed each answer after reading it.

Pair held for trial in slaying
By JULIE SHAW
Philadelphia Daily News

shawj@phillynews.com 215-854-2592

Timothy Clark, 15, and his brother's friend, Damien Holloway, 27, were shot to death execution-style on a Northeast Philly street in July 2007.
They were forced to their knees, with their hands behind their heads, witnesses testified yesterday.

Gerald Drummond then allegedly fired one shot into Holloway's jaw, and one into the back of Clark's head.

Drummond, 24, who is white, didn't like Holloway, who was black and had a baby daughter with Drummond's sister, according to witnesses.

"The n----- got what he deserved," Drummond allegedly said to Nicole Penrose and Amy Rudnitskas, who each testified yesterday at Drummond's and co-defendant Robert McDowell's preliminary hearing.

Clark was shot just because "he was a witness and he [Drummond] couldn't leave any loose ends," Drummond said, according to Penrose.

Rudnitskas similarly testified that Drummond had said, "Timmy was a casualty of war."

Municipal Judge James M. DeLeon yesterday held Drummond and McDowell, 26, who both lived in the Northeast neighborhood, for trial on first-degree murder, conspiracy and weapons offenses in the early-morning shooting on July 13, 2007, on Vandike Street near Longshore Avenue.

Four civilian prosecution witnesses who knew one or both of the defendants testified yesterday, and three were clearly nervous and reluctant.

Under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Christine Wechsler, Penrose and Rudnitskas said they were both in Drummond's house on Knorr Street when Drummond talked about the shooting. Penrose said that she saw Drummond enter a trap door from his living room and go down to his basement to put away a gun. He said that he was going to throw it into the river, she said.

McDowell allegedly was with Drummond when the two of them ran into Holloway and Clark, who were walking from a 7-Eleven store. McDowell, who had the gun, allegedly gave it to Holloway to pull the trigger.

" 'Casper didn't have the balls to pull the trigger,' " Penrose testified that Drummond had said. Casper is one of McDowell's nicknames.

"All I heard was he [McDowell] couldn't do it and Gerald had to do it," Rudnitskas testified.

Penrose further testified that sometime before the shooting, she witnessed a fight between Drummond and Holloway. Holloway believed the fight was over the "color of his skin," she said.

At one point during her testimony, Penrose cried: "I don't want to do this!" as she teared up.

Rudnitskas, who had to be escorted to the courtroom by homicide detectives, entered red-eyed. She was crying loudly when she left the room.

Another witness, Erica Marrero, McDowell's fiancee, frequently smiled at McDowell during her testimony.

"I love him with all my life!" she blurted at one point.

Earlier, Marrero testified that detectives who took a statement from her "fabricated the whole thing." She said that they threatened that she would lose her baby and would not get a city job if she didn't sign the statement.

The statement was not read aloud in court, but was entered into evidence. In it, Marrero allegedly said that her fiance told her that he couldn't do the shooting, and that Drummond shot the victims.

Thomas Zehnder, a friend of Holloway's, testified that he heard Drummond say at a party "how he laid them down and killed" the victims because "he was tired of [Holloway's] s---." Zehnder said that because of the shooting, Drummond considered himself an "OG," or Original Gangster.

During the testimony, Clark's mother, Bette Clark, frequently dropped her head crying, as her sister, Phyllis Asman McBride, also wept. After the hearing, Bette Clark said that yesterday was the first time that she heard that her son, who had just finished his freshman year at Abraham Lincoln High, was killed execution-style.

Holloway, she said, was a friend of her oldest son and was living with them at the time. She couldn't believe that Drummond would kill her youngest son, Timothy, who Drummond knew from the neighborhood.

Holloway's father, Eugene Holloway, said "it wasn't a shocker to me" to hear Drummond refer to his son by the N-word. "Gerald called him that," he said.

July 27, 2009
 

 

TRIAL IS SET FOR NOVEMBER 29, 2010.  GOD HELP ME THRU THIS AWFUL TIME, A YEAR AND HALF TO GO GET JUSTICE FOR MY ANGEL SON.  I THANK EVERYONE FOR ALL THE SUPPORT YOU ALL HAVE GIVEN ME AND MY FAMILY.  KEEP US IN YOUR PRAYERS!

May 9, 2010
 
Another Mother's Day without you.  It was very hard and very sad.  You are so missed my baby cakes.  Your brothers miss you too.  They hurt so bad inside and I don't know what to do.  Please watch over them and keep them close.  Let them know you are always there with them no matter what.  I worry so much about them.  We are all lost without you, are family chain has been broken and it's so hard to fix.  How can we when the best link has been broken???  Oh Timmy please keep an eye on your brothers and help them thru the pain the are living in.  I miss you so much, my heart hurts without you my heart hearts for your brothers.  I love you more and miss you more each day.  I don't know how much more I can go on.  Please ask God to keep us strong.  My sweet angel ♥♥♥
July 13, 2010
 

Today is 3 years.  where did it go?  I still can't believe it, my heart hurts so much.  I love you so much Timmy and miss you more each day.  How did we go 3 years without you I'll never know and to think it will be a lifetime, I can't bare the thought of it.  You are so special and so loved by so many.  We miss you so much, your brothers they love you and watch over them and keep them safe for me ok, cause you're my guardian angel and I need you near me.  I will always love you until the end of time my sweet angel, baby cakes, my buddy.  I'll see you in heaven, ask God to save a place for me and I'll meet you at the "crossroads".  So we can hug and laugh and be together again.  My little boy, 15 forever.  I don't know how I can go on without you, trying to stay strong for your brothers.  Come visit me in my dreams and tell me you are ok and happy with Jesus. 

December 20, 2010
 

GUILTY!

 

2 Tacony men found guilty of 1st degree murder
By Nathan Gorenstein
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Two Tacony men charged in a 2007 racially tinged double slaying were found guilty Monday of first degree murder, and now face the death penalty.
Gerald Drummond, 26, and Robert McDowell, 28, will be sentenced to life or put on death row for the July 13, 2007, slayings of Damien Holloway, 27, and Timothy Clark, 15, in the 6900 block of Vandike Street.
In a concession to the end-of-year holidays, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes said the penalty hearing will start on Jan. 4, 2011. Jurors will decide if they get life in prison or are sentenced to death.
There are 218 people on death row in Pensylvania, and the last execution was in 1999, when serial killer Gary Heidnik halted his appeals. Post-conviction death penalty appeals typically last for years.
The jury of seven women and five men who found the two guilty heard testimony from witnesses who described bad blood between Drummond and Holloway because of race - Drummond and McDowell are white - and because Holloway had a child with Drummond's sister.
Prosecutors said Drummond ordered Holloway and Clark to kneel on the sidewalk, hands clasped behind their heads, and told McDowell to shoot them.
When McDowell said he couldn't do it Drummond took the revolver and shot the teen in the back of the head and Holloway in the face as he tried to run.
McDowell showed no emotion as the verdict was read. As he was escorted out of the courtroom he turned, waved to relatives and softly said, "Don't worry about it."
Jurors then declared Drummond guilty of first degree murder. Dressed in a green shirt and with tatoos on his hands partially hidden by the sleeves, Drummond shook his head dismissively as the verdict was read.
The gun was never recovered, and there was no blood, DNA, or other forensic evidence that linked McDowell and Drummond to the murders. But by September 2008, detectives testified, the men had told enough friends for them to be arrested.
A procession of those friends - mostly heroin addicts, tearful and terrorized, with criminal records - testified against the pair. Several said Drummond boasted of killing Holloway for disrespecting his sister and Clark because he was "a loose end."
Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega acknowledged the criminal and drug problems of his witnesses but argued that the information they said came from Drummond and McDowell could only have been known by the killers. Vega said his witnesses' shaky bearing was caused by fear of retaliation from the Drummond and McDowell families.
One of Drummond's brothers, Michael, 24, was charged with intimidating a trial witness last week in a courthouse hallway. He is in custody pending a preliminary hearing on Dec. 29. Other witnesses described intimidation by Drummond's older brother, David, 28, or McDowell's sister, Tara, 25, who is married to Gerald Drummond and the mother of his two children.
Vega said the penalty hearing was delayed because "it would not be fair to the jury," to keep them in court during the holiday season. That hearing is expected to last two or more days.
Family members of the two victims were escorted out of the courthouse by police.
Defense attorneys Gary Server, for McDowell, and Michael E. Wallace, for Drummond, said they will be putting on mitigating evidence in an attempt to keep their clients off death row.
December 25, 2010
 

I miss you more each day, I love you forever.

 

Another Christmas without you, another year without you, it's so hard to bare.

 

Justice has been done for you Timmy, but it does not bring my heart any joy.  I just wish I could have you back instead.

January 13, 2011
 

JUSTICE HAS PREVAILED - AND ON TIMMY'S 3 1/2 YEAR ANNIVERSARY, HOW IRONIC!!!!!

 

Convicted murderers are spared death penalty

By William Kenny

Times Staff Writer

Bette Ann Clark didn't advocate for death sentences for the two men who murdered her 15-year-old son Timmy and family friend Damien Holloway three and a half years ago.

In Clark's mind, the fate of Gerald Drummond and Robert McDowell was best left to "God's will."

Last week, a 12-person Philadelphia jury essentially spared the lives of the two killers. The panel of seven women and five men deadlocked on the death penalty issue, thereby forcing Common Pleas Court Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes to impose life sentences by default.

Under Pennsylvania law, a jury must agree unanimously to put a defendant to death. As convicted first-degree murderers, Drummond, 26, and McDowell, 28, could've received no less than life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Hughes on Jan. 13 actually ordered two consecutive life terms for each killer, in addition to 15- to 30-year sentences for each in connection with their convictions on weapons offenses and conspiracy.

"I'm happy with what they got," Bette Ann Clark said. "I left it up to God and they have to live with it for the rest of their lives. I hope every time they close their eyes they see Timmy and Damien Holloway."

Drummond and McDowell ambushed and executed Clark and the 27-year-old Holloway on July 13, 2007, on the 6900 block of Vandike St. The victims were walking to Clark's home on the 6800 block of Vandike St. after having visited a nearby convenience store.

Holloway was living with Clark, his brothers and their mother at the time.

According to trial testimony, the defendants - who are brothers-in-law - forced the victims to their knees at gunpoint and had them place their hands on their heads. Drummond told McDowell to shoot both, but McDowell couldn't bring himself to pull the trigger, so Drummond took the gun and shot each victim fatally in the head.

Witnesses at the trial testified that Drummond and McDowell confessed to and boasted of the killings after the fact.

Drummond held a grudge against Holloway because Holloway had fathered a child with Drummond's sister before breaking up with her, according to trial testimony. Drummond, who is white, used a racial epithet in describing how Holloway, who was black, "got what he deserved," witnesses said.

No eyewitness testimony was presented at trial, nor was physical evidence linking either defendant to the crime. The murder weapon has never been found.

The jury deliberated the verdict for four hours following a penalty phase that included six days of testimony.

The trial included seven days of testimony and concluded on Dec. 17, with the same jury convicting both defendants on Dec. 20. Hughes delayed the start of the penalty phase to avoid a conflict with the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

In a case marred by allegations of witness intimidation against relatives and friends of the defendants, tempers flared on the final day in court.

After Hughes imposed the sentences and the jury was being led from the courtroom, McDowell reportedly smiled at Drummond and slapped him on the back. Neither Hughes nor the victims' families appreciated the celebratory tone of the defendants' final exchange.

"One of them smacked the other on the back like they 'beat it,'" Bette Ann Clark said. "The judge didn't like that too much. They were remorseless."

Hughes reportedly called both defendants "irredeemable."

At the start of the penalty phase, both defendants had rejected offers by Assistant District Attorney Carlos Vega to withdraw the death penalty from consideration in exchange for their willingness to waive all of their appeal rights.

Throughout the trial and penalty phase, both defendants continued to maintain their innocence, although their attorneys had brought in numerous character witnesses for each in an effort to persuade the jury to consider the defendants' troubled childhoods as mitigating factors in their crimes.

The court did not disclose how many jurors were in favor of the death sentence and how many favored life in prison.

Bette Ann Clark is relieved that the long court ordeal is finally over.

"We don't have it hanging over our heads anymore," she said. "It's just the end of a chapter in this nightmare, but there will never be closure. Maybe there will be some healing eventually."

Reporter William Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or bkenny@bsmphilly.com