CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - As Antrone Smith and Latricia Jackson stand accused in the murder of their son, Damarcus Jackson, remaining loved ones, including the boy's foster family, said their final goodbyes on Monday.
Damarcus died Oct. 21 after police and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters say the boy was beaten so severely, internal bleeding took his life. Family members of Antrone Smith, who had just regained custody of the boy and his siblings a few months earlier, say the father is innocent and would never have hurt his son. However, Deters is seeking the death penalty against Smith.
"It's hard to comfort people in the midst of this kind of tragedy. A child with so much future ahead of him, so much potential, loses their life in such a tragic way," said Pastor Damon Lynch III. "So what we'll try to do is find words from scripture, from the life of Christ, from the Gospels, to speak to the family, to speak to the community to bring comfort, but also try to speak words of justice. Sometimes the system seems to let us down and I think in this case it let DeMarcus down."
An independent review of Hamilton County's Department of Job & Family Services will be done at the request of County Commissioners.
Pastor Lynch has used his pulpit to preach to those who are responsible for raising children.
"We talked about a generation of young men who've grown up and all they know is how to hit. They were hit as kids and they think that works. It doesn't work for children. If you hit a child in the stomach, they don't stop crying, they stop breathing," he said.
He also told FOX19 that if the community truly wants a way to help change the cycle of violence, that a parents' respite facility is one thing the city could use.
"We need places of respite," he said. "A respite is a place where a mom who's just tired can bring her child for a couple of hours while she goes to maybe get her hair done or just go take a nap. And we've tried to start one here and we'll probably try it again. I've talked about it for 21 years now – that's how important that is to me."
Joe and Latasha Tye, longtime foster parents who have been recognized by the city of Cincinnati for their outstanding work with foster children, have helped make the funeral arrangements for the boy they loved as if he were their own, having raised DeMarcus since he was 8 days old. Latasha Tye's aunt, Shona Harris, told FOX19 earlier in the week that her family would have done anything to keep the boy safe. Now, they are grieving a life that was ended too soon.
Jackson's funeral services were held at Rockdale Baptist Church.