Season of Prayer for Justice: The Story of Three Families| Tags: Dayton Weekly News
Reprinted with permission from The Dayton Weekly News, November 8-15, 2007 by Margaret Peters
At 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 1, Gerald Brame and Rosemary Peters Brame, the parents of murdered Dayton Police Officer Kevin Brame, were among the many friends who packed Courtroom 12 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. They came to support Tyria and Nelson Stone, Jr., the parents of 19-year-old hit and run victim Steven Smith.
The attorney for Rickey Risden II, whom Montgomery County deputies say was responsible for the accident that killed Steven, was attempting to exclude Risden’s confession. Judge William McCracken delayed making a decision.
At 7:00 p.m. that same day, Tyria and Nelson Stone were among the many friends who came to Zion Baptist Church for the “Season of Prayer for Justice for Dayton Police Officer Kevin Brame and Other Victims of Violence.” Officer Brame was murdered on November 1, 1999 and nobody has been arrested for that crime.
Dr. Brodie R. Mathis, pastor of Zion Baptist Church, welcomed the attendees… Sgt. Whitney Butler, Chaplain of the Dayton Police Department, spoke movingly about Officer Brame as both a friend and a police officer. Officer Brame’s family was the first to speak. Gerald Brame stressed the fact that the community must play an active role in solving this crime. He urged anyone who has information about their son’s assassination, however small, to share it with the Cold Case Unit. Rosemary Brame recognized Rev. Raleigh Trammel and SCLC and thanked him for having a two-page story she wrote about Kevin included in the fall 2007 SCLC Magazine. She spoke of the pain, which does not end, caused by his murder, thanked the community for its support, and expressed the hope that there would be no need for a similar “Prayer for Justice” program in 2008.
She had a letter she received two years ago from a then eight-year-old little girl. It read, “Dear Mrs. Brame, I haven’t seen you in a long time and I’m still thinking about why somebody killed your son. I don’t remember him, but I still feel sorry for you. If I could find the killer I would, not because of the money, but for you. Again, I am so sorry. Your friend, Lauren Stone”. She introduced Lauren and said that life was full of cruel ironies, for Lauren, now ten years old, has experienced the loss of a loved one herself. She is the sister of Steven Smith, the daughter of Tyria and Nelson Stone.
Ms. Brame noted the further irony that Nelson (Marty) was one of Kevin’s very best friends from early childhood. Ms. Brame asked for prayers and support for the Stone family. Nelson and Tyria Stone came to the front of the sanctuary.
Marty spoke about his double loss and how difficult it is to go down Philadelphia Drive every day on his way to Meadowdale High School, where he serves as principal. First he passes the reward poster with the picture of Kevin. Then he passes the corner where his son was killed. He spoke of happier times, when he and Kevin went to the prom dressed in their Miami Vice attire. He ended with an appeal to the community to work together to stop the violence. Tyria Stone spoke of a difficult but satisfying decision she had made: donating Steven’s organs so that others might live. She encouraged others, particularly African Americans, to make the same decision.
The final speakers were Paula and John Kalaman, the parents of Centerville Police Officer John Kalaman. Paula noted that the woman who struck and killed her son as well as a fireman, and seriously injured another officer, was fined $200.00 and was told not to speed. John spoke of the unending pain of losing their child. He added that they waged the campaign that led to the installation of the “Slow Down” signs to help prevent more such deaths. They also hold an annual blood drive in their son’s name. He also added that he wished he had know Kevin and had met his parents under happier circumstances, thanked the Brames for their support and offered their support to the Stones.
As the Kalamans returned to their seats, they embraced the Brames and the Stones. The families are united not only by their shared loss, but also by their concern for others. The Stones promote organ donations, the Kalamans promote highway safety and blood donations, and the Brames promote education through the Kevin Brame scholarships.