THIS WORLD NEEDS JESUS!

by David Sisler

In 1992 two young men of my acquaintance went to work at Chic-Fil-A. It was their first job, their first experience in retail. Five years later "first" continues as "only."

It would be interesting if my sons, Michael and Matthew, could calculate the number of sandwiches and fries they have passed across the counter, the number of lemons they have squeezed, the number of sweet teas and cokes they have served. They do it today as a matter of course, but they did not take easily to fast food service. Matthew recalled that a few days ago as he wept over the death of his boss, and friend, Glenn "Sonny" Martin.

"Sonny had patience with us," Matt said, his voice breaking. "He worked with us and gave us extra chances when it would have been easier to have replaced us. We will never forget that."

Michael sat on the couch, his body stiff, his teeth clinched, his eyes starring across the room, looking at memories. He nodded his head ever-so slightly in acknowledgment of his brother's statement, his silence as much a personification of his personality and emotions as were his brother's tears of his own.

Sonny Martin was murdered by a shotgun blast to his stomach while standing outside of his home. His son-in-law, Michael Andrew Phillips, has been charged with the murder. When the alleged murderer was arrested, he had been holding off police officers for three and one-half hours, a 12-gauge shotgun stuffed into his mouth.

I did not know Joy Estrella Mariano Enriquez. I will never have the privilege of knowing her because the 19-year-old was shot while driving her car in Langley Park, Maryland, and died at Washington Hospital Center.

Joy's car bumped a man riding a bicycle as she made a left turn, and the cyclist fell from his bike. She had the right of way. The cyclist, wearing earphones, cut her off. As the driver pulled over to check on him, the cyclist, approached the car, shouted and cursed at the woman before drawing a handgun, firing once into her head and riding away.

Ms. Enriquez was a physical therapy student at Montgomery College. She also worked as a receptionist. She had spent the day with her uncle and brother at her parents' home and was headed for class when she was killed.

"She was such a peaceable person," Eligio Enriquez, the murdered girl's father, said. "I just want to say, my baby is an angel she's one of the best daughters ever. It's unbelievable. Why, why, why?"

Alejandro Jose Grant, who was arrested by police and charged with Joy's murder, was free on previous assault charges in the District and Montgomery County despite failing three court-ordered drug tests. The alleged assault occurred on December 11, 1995, but Grant's trial had been postponed five times and he has been free on personal recognizance. Last month, the case was pushed to January 1998 because no judges were available to hear the case. Joy Enriquez was shot to death on October 9, 1997.

Eddie Werner will never see his twelfth birthday. The sixth-grader at the Christa McAuliffe Middle School Toms River, New Jersey was hoping to win a walkie-talkie set by selling the most merchandise in a Parent Teacher Association fund-raiser.

Eddie was going door-to-door selling candy and wrapping paper when, as police allege, he knocked on a door answered by Sam Manzie, age 15. According to investigators, Sam Manzie himself a victim of sexual molestation by a 43-year-old man sexually molested Eddie Werner, strangled him, stuffed his body into a suitcase and hid it until the next day when he disposed of the corpse in a wooded area that separates the Manzie and Werner neighborhoods.

Finally, there is the senseless death of Lakisha Foster, age 13, from Washington, D.C. Lakisha had big chestnut eyes and a bright smile. She was a cheerleader for the boys club where her twin brother, Louis, played football. She also ran track for the Barry Farms Recreation Center and was on the center's swimming team, where she had won citywide honors in the breast stroke and freestyle.

Barbara Foster, Lakisha's mother knew that several neighborhood girls had been "beefing" or verbally feuding with her daughter, so she was walking the seventh-grader home from a photo session at the Recreation Center. Lakisha was trailing just a few feet behind her mother when the attackers jumped out, wrestled her to the sidewalk and left Lakisha dying of wounds inflicted by a steak knife. A 14-year-old girl was charged with her murder.

A man shot to death on his front porch, in front of his family. A young woman shot to death in her car, stopping to give assistance. A young boy, helping his school, strangled and stuffed into a suitcase. A young girl, going home with her mother, knifed to death.

This world needs Jesus!

-30-

Published in the Augusta Chronicle 10/18/97

Copyright 1997 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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