Ray Lewis' retirement opens old wounds for families in 2000 murder case

It's been almost 13 years since Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was arrested in connection with the murders of two young men from Akron, Ohio outside an Atlanta nightclub.

Lewis' friends, Joseph Sweeting and Reginald Oakley were charged with murder in the case, as was Lewis initially. Lewis entered a plea deal, admitting to obstruction of justice and testified against the two defendants. His crime was that he reportedly told the group of friends he was with to all keep quiet about what happened as they sped away from the scene in a limo on January 31, 2000.

Lewis' testimony did nothing to sway the jury. Both Sweeting and Oakley were acquitted after only 6 hours of deliberation.

While the widespread media coverage of Lewis' pending retirement continues as the Ravens take on the Broncos this weekend, families of the two murdered men, childhood friends Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker, can't help but feel the pain of reliving that fateful moment in time.

"I never did acknowledge [my son] being dead until last year," said Richard's mother Priscilla Lollar to Carrie Wells of the Baltimore Sun. "I wouldn't have wanted to live. I always felt that he was in Atlanta and he would be home soon and would call me soon. It was like that for years."

The Lollars could never bring themselves to watch Lewis play on TV, and still suffer the hurt of knowing that not one person involved in the murders paid for their crimes.

"How can you understand something that is senseless?" Lollar said. "There was no justice in anything..."

Jacinth Baker's parents died before him, and his Aunt, Vondie Boykin declined a request for an interview, but Lollar added that both families still don't know all of the details of the incident. "I was in the dark on a lot of things."

Ray Lewis, as most acknowledge, did not commit the actual murders, but was with the group and was/is responsible by law, and he has had to live with that truth.

"I'm sure he felt bad that two men lost their lives, tragically," former teammate Shannon Sharpe said. "His name will forever be attached to that. I told him ... a great portion of people will always remember you for what transpired in Atlanta; you can't change that, no matter if you win 10 Super Bowls."

Still, Lewis feels the media should not go there after all this time. A reporter from USA Today approached him about the subject after Thursday's practice.

"Really, really. Why would I talk about that? That was 13 years ago" he said.

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Ray Lewis' retirement opens old wounds for families in 2000 murder case | 60 Max Power O - Pro Football News, Coverage and Analysis


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