Mother of homicide victim: 'It's like a nightmare to me'
By Stacy Jacobsonsjacobson@abcnews4.com
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Elaine Ancrum has not touched her son Solomon's room since the day he left it for the last time.
Ancrum was killed during a drug deal in October, according to police. But in his room where his posters still hang on the wall, his death still haunts his mother every day.
"This is a nightmare. I don't wish it on anybody. It needs to stop," she said.
Ancrum's is one of 34 families who lost a loved one last year in a death ruled a homicide by Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten.
Wooten said Charleston County averages about 38 homicides a year.
"That would say we'll be down a little bit. Does that guarantee we'll be down that much this year? No. I think that's one of the things that's very frustrating," Wooten said.
Year after year, the coroner does the same thing: reflect on last year's numbers. But, nothing seems to change, she said.
"There's no doubt the drugs in our society are driving the violent behavior that result frequently in homicide," Wooten said.
Stricter laws and harsher punishments for those who kill under the influence would serve as a deterrent, she said. She urged state lawmakers to make changes - like allowing investigators to test for drugs and alcohol after a child dies under a parent's watch. Under current laws, they cannot do any such testing, she said.
But perhaps the tears of a grieving mother, like Ancrum, serve as the best deterrent.
"His child asked me, 'Grandma, if you had tell daddy to stay home, would he still be alive?' I don't know what to tell her," she said.
Though she doesn't know the other victims, she feels their families' pain.
"The number [of homicides] needs to stop. I pray for the people and I still listen to it. I still hear it. It's just like a nightmare to me. My son being killed again, over and over," she said.
Coroner Wooten also said the majority of homicides are committed by a person known to the victim. She said two of the 34 in 2013 were random acts of violence.