Whitfield and Dias families living with pain after killings

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Donna Whitfield knows her son wasn’t a saint, but he wasn’t a devil either, and he did not deserve to be gunned down on the streets of Homewood by a teen he didn’t even know.

He was in a good place things were going good,” she said. “He was up the street just shooting pool. I miss him. I love him. It’s a great pain to lose a child. But it’s a greater pain to think that this kid believes he can just take a life—and his sorry mother won’t even say she’s sorry for her sorry son.”

WhitfieldHoldingOn
HOLDING ON— Donna Whitfield hangs on to the flyer announcing her slain son’s funeral.

Stefan Whitfield, 34, of Wilkinsburg, was smoking marijuana with an acquaintance outside the now closed Mac Can Do bar on Brushton Avenue when 19-year-old Julian Larkins began firing at them. Whitfield’s friend was grazed by a bullet before he made it around the corner. Whitfield didn’t get that far, he fell to the sidewalk with a fatal wound to the head.

Two private security guards witnessed the shooting and chased Larkins to Hale Street where they found him hiding under a car-less than a block from Donna Whitfield’s house.

“He tried, but he couldn’t hide because the Lord saw him,” she said. “He’s a menace, smirking and showing no remorse (at the preliminary hearing). And his mother, too—she had him out on bond for something else, and he has an automatic weapon with an extended clip—she’s responsible, too. She should go to jail, too.”

Whitfield said her son left behind two daughters and two stepsons, and that the extended family is still devastated. Looking at the New Pittsburgh Courier’s October count of Black homicides, she shook her head.

“We have 13-year-olds to 19-year-olds taking lives, and mommas not even paying attention to these kids,” she said. “This is wrong. I mean, Larkins is up in that jail, eating, sleeping, not a care. I have to make myself eat and I can’t sleep. This has to stop.”

Sleep isn’t a problem for Rose Farrow of the North Side, but she hopes it is for whoever killed her sister Julia Dias in McKees Rocks Oct. 17.

“I hope they catch who did it. I honestly do. I hope they can’t sleep at night. I hope they toss and turn,” said her sister, Rose Farrow. “I hope this eats at them so they come forward and they find out who killed my sister because this was not called for.”

Dias, 46, a mental health patient living at the Mercy Behavioral Health facility on Broadway Avenue in McKees Rocks, hadn’t been seen there since going out Oct. 15. Her body was discovered around noon two days later under the back porch of a home just five blocks away.

Though the police report says the officers—who arrived within minutes of the homeowner calling about a body behind her house—saw blood still coming from a gunshot wound to the back of her head, no one, including the homeowner, said they heard a shot.

Farrow and her sister, Delores, said Allegheny County detectives have suspects and are testing DNA samples found on Dias, but the results are not in, and no arrest has been made.

“One of them is a guy who Julia said threatened her before and put a gun to her head,” said Delores. “But the detectives haven’t given us any updates. We can’t even see the coroner’s report.”

Though Dias’ sisters have issues with how the case has been handled, they are still stunned that anyone would harm her.

“She was a sweet, loving and caring woman. She had a smile for everyone,” said. Rose. “Even people who just knew her from the coffee shop or grocery store are like, ‘My God, who would kill her?’ Whoever it is, I just hope they can’t eat, can’t sleep. I hope they are tortured and demented in their mind.”

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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