LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – Family and friends gathered to remember Joseph McNealy, who was killed in November 2009. Three years after his murder, Marcus Crook pleaded guilty to first degree manslaughter.
Every year, Joseph McNealy’s family comes to the same place on the same day. They’re not looking for justice, they’re remembering the man they loved and lost. While most families circled around the dinner table to give thanks, this one lit candles in the cold, never wanting to forget what they had.
McNealy, 21, was gunned down in 2009 in the very spot those candles burn, near Stone Alley in the Russell neighborhood. He’s the third of his mother’s children to die in the streets.
“Life is so precious and people just don’t understand. You only got one life,” she cried at the vigil. “We’re out here for Joe Boy, to still represent his name. His life lives on through us. For his daughter, for his son, we’re out here for him. We love him,” Tetra Briggs, the mother of McNealy’s daughter, said.
As part of a plea deal in 2012, Marcus Crook admitted to shooting McNealy. Crook claimed it started as an argument over money and escalated. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. It was hardly the closure McNealy’s family was looking for.
“It didn’t help at all,” Briggs said. “Only 10 years? It’s not enough. He’s gone, we’re raising his kids by ourselves and they got to grow up wanting their dad, crying for their dad, asking for their dad, wanting to talk to their dad.”
So, every year, on Nov. 28, they come back to the spot, with McNealy’s son and daughter. It’s a reminder of the toll violence took on their lives.
Crook was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but he’d already been behind bars for three years waiting for the trial and received credit for the time he served. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving at least 85 percent of his sentence.