Friends say Avondale murder victim was 'changed man'

AVONDALE, OH (FOX19) - James Joyner was a man with a troubled past, but friends say he was getting himself together before he was murdered on Sunday in Avondale.

With a history of drug use, incarceration and arrests behind him, Joyner had just got a new job at a barber shop and had given up drinking and drugs, according to friend Michael Hill.

"He went through some struggles for awhile and he got himself together. He moved out of state, came back, got himself together. He was on top of his game," said Hill, who claims he grew up with Joyner.

Joyner, 45, was found in a vacant lot on the intersection of Reading Road and Whittier around 1 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

People who live near the murder scene told FOX19's Gordon Graham that Joyner was shot several times by a young man who got into a dark four door sedan and drove off. They said Joyner could be heard begging for help before he died.

Police are looking for clues as to why he was murdered and have yet to release any suspect information.

Meanwhile, Hill, still shocked by his friend's death, is remembering the positive impact Joyner had on his life.

"Jim Jim was a real good guy. You know, he was kind-hearted, he was giving, you know, fun to be around… a lively guy full of life."

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