Music tribute planned for Marley Lion

Pictured above, left to right, are Marley Lion, Matthew Finlayson and John Jamison.

By Lia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- On Tuesday afternoon, friends John Jamison and Matthew Finlayson endlessly jammed out on their guitars even though they were missing a person who usually was a part of the jam session. They sat together, practicing -- all in an effort to perfect a tribute to heir best friend, Marley Lion.

"He was going to make good music," Jamison said. "It's weird that part of your life is lost."

Both Jamison and Finlayson met Lion freshman year at Academic Magnet. They say Lion was the class clown, an athlete of all trades and overall, just a great person who gave to others.

They were all to attend Clemson University this fall.

"We were looking forward to being roommates and everything. We were probably going to form a band there," Finlayson said.

The two friends have helped organize a Marley Lion Music Festival set for Sunday, July 29th at James Island County Park. The gate will open at 3 p.m., with music from the friends, family, and many more bands from 4 until 8 p.m.

The cost will be $5 at the door and will go the "Heart of the Lion Fund" that has been set up through Coastal Community Foundation. Proceeds will benefit two organizations, Water Missions International and Life Line.

Their guitars now carry their best friend's initials. T-shirts will also be sold with the guitar logo. They also are selling Lion's trademark bumper sticker.

"One of the things he was known for are these little ducks. He would just draw this duck insignia and leave it everywhere. You would just know it was him," Finlayson said.

The night of the murder

Lion was killed June 16 in a West Ashley parking lot outside of Famous Joe's Bar & Grill. Both friends say they saw him earlier in the night, at Jamison's home, but Lion took off around 7 p.m.

They say Lion went to a different party at a West Ashley High School student's home with a girl he knew and stayed until very late.

"We really didn't know them," Finlayson said.

Both were surprised that Lion pulled over in the parking lot that night. Jamison, who lives in West Ashley area, says usually Lion would crash at his place if in the area.

"That's what we would normally do," he said.

Jamison said he left early the next day for a Rugby match in North Carolina when he got the call from Liz Paige, Lion's mom asking about her son.

"I thought he was at my house, because I had to leave early," he said noting he didn't have time to check and see.{}

Not long afterwards, he learned of Lion's death.

"I didn't believe it all. I thought it was a joke. Then, I had to drive four hours home and still didn't realize it," he said. "I still don't really."

Finlayson said he will never feel closure to Lion's death. He said while he wants the person caught for his murder, it's more for justice sake.

"That's not going to help anything. He's gone, but I do hope they catch him soon."

Police say they have no new information about the case, but state that it is still an ongoing investigation.