Memphis blogger, Thaddeus Matthews, snuck into a funeral home and took pictures of on of the victims of the Lester Street Massacre, including pictures of her bullet hole ridden kneecaps where she was shot before being smothered.
The family did not give Thaddeus permission to post the pictures in fact many of them had not even seen the victim yet. The pictures have the victims eyes open with what appears to be a horrified expression on her face. This is Thaddeus' explanation:
Matthews said today he entered N.J. Ford and Sons Funeral Home with permission but did not obtain authorization to photograph Roberson’s body.
“You don’t get permission to do everything you do, right?” Matthews asked a reporter. “You just go after the story. That’s what I did. My site is controversial in that I do controversial things, but I think the community needs to know how these people died.”
Joe Ford, who owns the funeral home, said no one gave Matthews permission to view the body.
“He trespassed,” Ford said. “He’s telling a boldfaced lie. We never give anybody permission to be in our facilities or in our prep room.” SOURCE
I don't know if that is the actual expression she had at death or a function of what the human body does after death so the argument that he wanted to show her expression falls flat. On the other hand it brings up whether there are times to display the horrors of death a la Emmit Till's mother Mamie, who held an open casket funeral so that people could see the horror of his death. However in that case, the family got to make the decision, not a stranger.
As you look at the picture of Shindri Roberson you can see the fright in her face as she died a tragic death. Seeing the expression on her face and after checking her body finding no other wounds than the 2 bullet wounds to the left knee. Its my belief that her killers shot her twice in the kneecap breaking her leg and then suffocated her. This happen to her while one of the babies was left with a knife stuck in it's skull and another child had it's fingers cut off.
No matter what her past was no one deserves to die in this manner. It is no doubt that this woman suffered a very painful death. There is total horror written across her face,can you imagine how she felt as she fought to catch her breath while being in severe pain from the gunshots? Can you imagine just visiting someone with the expectation of going home,and leave in a body bag? Can you imagine watching children killed and cut up,and then waiting your turn to die?
Some of you will be offended by the posting of these pictures, but remember the shocking expression of death on the face of Shindri Roberson could be on your face this time tomorrow on this site. Mr. Mayor we demand that you and your Director of Police come up with a real plan to save us all. Thaddeus Matthews
Blogger May Have Broken the Law
In addition to being unseemly, Thaddeus Matthews may have broken Tennessee law:
Roberson’s sister, Cheryl Green, screamed when told photographs of her sister’s body were posted online. “Why did he do that? That’s my sister! That’s my sister!” Green said, crying. “I’m mad as hell.”
In photographing the body, Matthews may have violated Tennessee criminal code.
A 1989 law makes physically mistreating “a corpse in a manner offensive to the sensibilities of an ordinary person” a Class E felony. The Pesky Fly
I'm not a journalist. I am a blogger, but if you are going to hold yourself out as some kind of journalist, I think you have to have some standards and one of which is not sneaking into a funeral home to take pictures of a person when they are most vulnerable and unable to defend themselves, not to mention disseminating the pictures world wide before family members even got to see their loved one. Not to mention people from the surviving kid's schools seeing these pictures. No counseling, no hand holding, just a click of a mouse button and wham. There the pictures are.
In other news, there has been an arrest in the case, the brother of one of the victims has been arrested in the GRUESOME torture and murder case:
Sources within the Memphis Police Department state that Jessie L.Dotson Jr. confessed to killing his brother and three other adults,along with killing two children and brutally beating three other of his young relatives and has been charged with First Degree Murder in the case of the Lester Street murders. Jessie is the brother of Cecil Dotson one of the victims. Thaddeus Matthews
This is semi confirmed by the announcement that the police are holding a press conference to announce an arrest in this case later today:
Memphis, TN– The Police Department is holding a news conference at 3:00 p.m. to announce the arrest of a suspect in the Lester Street Murders. Memphis
On Monday, March 3, 2008,
police found four adults and two kids dead at a home on Lester Street in Binghampton. They found the bodies of Cecil Dotson, Marissa Williams, Shindri Roberson, Hollis Seals and two children, plus three children critically hurt. CW30 Memphis