Dark…and Still Darker…

Kyshawn Pittman and Ke’Marion Wilder

By Lafe Tolliver, Esq
Guest Column

Ever have those times or days when your perception of events appears to be dark in the sense that tragedy, sadness or being in a woeful state, has arrested you?

And, yet, what is even more foreboding is when that darkness just got darker and you know that there is a troubling settling in of a malaise that if you do not reject it, it can linger and cause apathy or a numbing of your spirit?

For Toledoans, that dark and its cousin, the darker, appeared in the past few days with the grim news of the murder of two young teenage Black youths.

Details may be sketchy, but a murder suspect has been apprehended and if that person is the shooter, two young kids lost their lives on a humbug regardless of any provocations that the two kids may have caused the alleged gunman.

Larry Sykes

Details as to the reason that the two teens were at the Maumee Park cabin and what transpired in that cabin that caused them to be apparently kidnapped and taken to a place of execution is not fully developed.

Nor do we know what adult supervision was at the kidnapping site that could have prevented the two kids from leaving the event and getting into a car for their transport to a killing site.

Still puzzling for the grieving family members is what was the involvement of the other charged adults in the kidnapping and murder of their children.

There are a lot of relationship questions that need to be explained between the two teens and their alleged killer and the alleged accomplices to their grisly deaths.

The house on Chase Street, which was suspiciously burned to the ground, was found to be the “burial site” for the two young boys and now begins the arduous task of stitching together the facts and personalities that led to this heinous crime.

Speculations will abound as to whether one of the kids had a gun on his person at the “party(?) site or whether one or both teens knew their abductors and felt safe getting into the death car or what supervision was there at this cabin site that either allowed the teens in or told them to leave when they created a fuss.

For the sake of the devastated family members of the two kids, I hope they will get answers from the accused persons as to what led the accused to kill two young teens and why there were other adults ostensibly involved in what happened in that Maumee cabin and thereafter.


Yvonne Harper

As we see too often, life for too many people is of no value or consequence to them and they will kill you as soon as look at you.

We, as a community, are injured when any such killings take place in our midst because the value of life should unite all of us and when that social web is fractured by murders, we all are involuntarily placed in a dark space until justice is restored.

And on another grievous topic of dark and darker, we all may have read with a heavy heart that three Black city council members are changing their former pleas of not guilty to that of guilty regarding the taking of bribes in exchange for political favors or votes.


Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes and AttorneyTyrone Riley will face sentencing in June 2023 for their roles in accepting bribes in exchange for their votes regarding political matters brought or to be brought before the city council.

Councilman Gary Johnson has refused such a plea deal and the other accused member of this group, Atty. Keith Mitchell, is now deceased.


Keith Mitchell and Tyrone Riley

Not only do we have the collective community embarrassment of so many Black council members facing such opprobrium over such offensive behavior, but you can imagine the shame and anguish being faced by their family members.

When you realize the mere “pennies” that was the loot bag for these councilpersons that they exchanged for their votes or promises of their votes, they sold themselves woefully short.

This is not to indicate that their capture would have been approved and smiled upon if they receive tens of thousands of dollars for their votes.

But. To face the possibility of years in a federal prison for getting practically coupons and a pack of gum in exchange for polluting themselves for their criminal activity, makes one say, “Really? For that pittance of money!”

Toledoans experienced both dark and darker this past week and one can only hope that light will pierce such dark veils and we all can both readjust to both protect youths when we see that they are in danger; and express genuine sorrow for those who let their fallen human nature override their better impulses.


Contact Lafe Tolliver at tolliver@juno.com