JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - “My mother called 911 and said there was a prowler over at her home.”
Angela Harrion presents a brave face when she talks about the night her 67-year-old mother, Helen Harrion, was killed in her backyard. But it’s a thin mask over the face of an adult little girl who still misses her mother.
That phone call was on was July 15, 2014. Helen Harrion had called Jackson dispatchers at 2:23 a.m. according to a 911 recording. Officers arrived eight minutes later, and when nobody answered the door they left. The case sparked an investigation into 911 and officer response.
“The next morning my mother was found deceased. She had been murdered,” she said.
Helen Harrion’s death impacted the entire neighborhood surrounding her home on Kings Road Avenue. In the last six years, her friends, neighbors, and her six children have struggled for answers about how a woman who gave so much to her community could be beaten, strangled and shot by a man who tended her lawn.
That case would result in the arrest of Alonzo Stewart, who had lived three doors down, and the resignation of then-police chief Lindsay Horton. A judge would award the Harrion family $1 million dollars in a civil suit.
But Stewart has not been to trial, the city has appealed the settlement and Angela Harrion says it seems like the processes has dragged forever. The family is ready for even a little bit of closure.
“I know it’s been six years, but the feelings and the heartbreak is as if it happened yesterday,” she said.
Harrion says the unanswered questions make it hard to visit her mother’s home.
“Because visits turn into investigations, and, you know, I’m constantly looking from the outside to the inside trying to understand how and why.”
Helen Harrion’s spirit is at that home, Angela said, so she makes sure to spend some time there every year on July 15, just to make sure her mother knows she’s still fighting for her.
Rosie McDonald, Helen Harrion’s lifelong neighbor, talks about how she misses her friend. The two raised their children and their grandchildren basically side by side for decades, and not having Helen there still hurts.
McDonald maintains the outside as if Helen were still there.
“I put some flowers out on the porch, I said, ‘Helen, I’m bringing you some flowers now,‘” McDonald said. “And I’m just trying to add something back to our neighborhood, something, because there was a lot that was taken away from us.”