Mother of murdered DHS student wants answers

May 12 at 6:00 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Mother of murdered DHS student wants answers
With it being a year since her son's brutal murder, a grieving Kelly Walker just wanted to remember the humble, quiet child who loved Mustangs.

“I just wanted to let today be about shining light on Kendall’s life,” Walker said. “This has been affecting our whole family in so many ways. We have so many good memories. He didn’t deserve to die ... and in this way.”

It was on May 4 of last year around 8:30 p.m. when Kendall Williams Jr., having just returned from walking his girlfriend home, was sitting on a bench in a gazebo in the New Sarpy park. Javon Wells, who was apparently living nearby at his grandmother’s residence, was there, too, and reportedly argued with Williams. It is still unknown as to why, but Wells is accused of simply walking over to Williams and shooting him once point blank in the head, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Walker maintains there was no apparent reason for the shooting.

“There were no words exchanged between Javon and Kendall,” she said. “There was no altercation … nothing.”

A sorrowful Walker has been left struggling with the haunting question of why this happened to her son, who didn’t live in the neighborhood or had any known connection to Wells.

Witnesses identified Wells as the shooter, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Walker believes it’s possible her son didn’t know what was happening because he was reportedly leaning over texting or emailing on his cell phone when he was shot.    

Williams was 18 years old and only days away from graduating from Destrehan High School.

Walker recalled how they were celebrating the news that he had passed his biology test because it meant he was going to graduate. Her typically nonchalant teen “smiled and looked up at the air, happy about graduating.”

Although Williams already had a Mustang, he anticipated getting a new one for graduation. Although it was in the works, his parents had kept him in suspense about whether his new muscle car was coming.

“All the kids said he was waiting on it,” Walker said. “They said he couldn’t wait for graduation because he knew he was getting that Mustang. Every day he sent me pictures of that new Mustang … every day.”

Williams had started planning his life.

“Definitely, I feel it was either of two things – do something with cars, because he was a car fanatic, or try to take the same route as my husband by going to process tech school,” Walker said. “I told him, ‘Whatever you do I will support you, but you will do something.’”

Cars, particularly the Mustang, had long played a prominent role in Williams’ life, and his family was happy to contribute to his enthusiasm whenever possible.

In 2014, Walker’s then 15-year-old son really got what he wanted for Christmas.

“I surprised him with a Mustang,” Walker said. “We were hiding out in the garage with the car with a big bow on it. His first girlfriend was there and he had no idea this was coming. When he pressed the garage door open, he was in shock and awe. Everybody screamed ‘Merry Christmas’ to him and he nearly hugged me off the ground. It was a five speed so he had to learn the same day and that was it after that.”

Although it’s been agonizing reflecting on what her son will not have in life like having a wife and children, she was grateful to have this memory of him.

When the news of her first-born’s death came, Walker said she was at University Hospital’s trauma ICU, where she works as a nurse. Ironically, they were waiting on a gunshot victim.

“I passed out,” she said. “I just remember blacking out.”Williams’ father also lost his only son, which Walker said is equally hard on him because they were close.

“They both loved cars,” she said. “That was their thing.”May 4 has become the day everything changed for the family, leaving them in turmoil and despair.

Williams graduated posthumously from DHS. A chair was placed with a rose and photo of him. When his name was called at the ceremony, it drew thunderous applause and cheers.

Walker was there, but it was a heart wrenching experience.

“I felt proud and sad,” she said. “It was mixed emotions because it was something we were so excited about and proud of … my first child graduating … we didn’t get to experience it. When they called his name, everyone screamed, and I was happy and proud of him, but the reality was he still wasn’t there.”

Unable to face the loss of her son at their Destrehan residence, the family has relocated elsewhere in the parish.

“I didn’t know how to go back and live there without him,” Walker said. “The best thing for me was to not be there.”Walker doesn’t believe she can reconcile her son’s loss.

“He isn’t coming back and this is my reality,” she said crying. “It’s been a year. I’m told, ‘You have to pray. You have to move on,’ but those are gestures. It feels like someone slit my heart and it won’t ever heal.”

The grief has been worsened by having to go to court month after month for rescheduled trial dates, she said. May 23 is the latest trial date and one that Walker desperately wants to be done.

There are the lingering questions like why this happened, as well as Walker dwelling on trying to understand the man accused of taking her son’s life.

Walker has tried to put a face and words to Wells, who was charged with second-degree murder. The closest she’s gotten is reading his statements to sheriff’s detectives in court documents.

Wells denies having known Williams, being in the park at the time in question and being the one who shot him. “I don’t even remember. I was drunk,” according to his 25-page statement to police.  When detectives pressed him further about the killing, he told them to let him go home or take him to jail, adding, “I ain’t got to answer no more questions. God bless his soul, ya heard me.”

Walker said she can’t comprehend his statement.

“What kind of heart do you have to have to utter words like that?” she said. “And then for him to say, ‘Arrest me, do what you have to do.’ Who behaves like that? I don’t think that human being has a heart. That cold face I see with him, those match that.”

Even if Wells is convicted and gets life in prison, she wept that it will not bring her son back.

“The only thing I could see is when I can see my son again,” she said. “And, as life goes on, I will have to learn to live with it ... and it will continue to be tragedy for me and my family.”

Even so, as Wells’ trial date approaches, she still wants to understand why the man accused of killing her son did it.“The only person who knows is Javon,” she said. “It won’t bring Kendall back, but it would put that thought to rest of why. Every day you think about it – what would cause him to do such a thing.”

View other articles written Anna Thibodeaux

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