By Dontay Stevenson
On June 27, family members and activists with Feed The Movement CLT held a vigil for 20 year-old Karon Golightly, who died on May 14 under mysterious circumstances in Mecklenburg County Jail while awaiting trial. The vigil was held outside of the jail where Golightly spent the last year of his life.
The vigil began with a speech written by Golightly’s mother, Lekisha, which was read out loud by her daughter Kiara. “I never imagined burying my son at 20 years old. This is one of the most unimaginable losses.” The speech continued, “He was goofy, he would run through the house dunking on his siblings. He was shy, he was gentle, he was kind.”
After the speech, the crowd marched to the jail entrance chanting as well as covering the ground with flyers with the slogans, “This jail kills,” “Long live Karon,” and “Blood is on your hands.”
In response to the protesters’ presence, the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s office sent out over a dozen sheriffs in an attempt to intimidate those in attendance, however no arrests were made. Afterward, a banner reading “Justice for Karon” as well as some vigil materials were placed outside of the jail.
The vigil ended with a prayer led by Golightly’s mother, who again spoke in remembrance of her son, before family members released purple and yellow balloons into the sky, which represented Golightly’s favorite colors. Golightly’s sister described him to Tribune as someone who loved basketball and was a “momma’s boy.”
The Golightly family has received minimal information from the jail as to the circumstances surrounding his death. His mother was informed by a deputy, a detective, and a chaplain on the day he died, however the rest of the Golightly family found out through social media and local news before Golightly’s mother could inform them. She and her family had a video call with her son the night before and he had seemed fine, laughing and joking with his family.
The Sheriff’s office did not inform Golightly’s mother when her son was taken to the hospital, and prevented her from seeing his body until it was dropped off at the funeral home several days after his death. Golightly’s sister informed Tribune that it was at the funeral home where she had to identify his body by herself. His family is continuing to fight to demand answers on the circumstances of his sudden and unexpected death.
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