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‘To lose him like that, carelessly it hurts’

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Johnathon Fraser is at loss to understand why anyone would have wanted to kill his big brother.

The 21-year-old says the earth-shattering news that James Lawes had been shot in Bermuda came out of nowhere.

“I was so shocked,” he tells

The Royal Gazette. “He was talking to our mother on the phone and about five minutes after he came off the phone, she got a call to say he had been shot.

“We heard these two guys pulled up on a bike and opened fire on him. I was so shocked. I was so sad. When I think about it, I still cry. He was my best friend. Just to lose him like that, carelessly. It hurts.”

Detectives say the culprits fired indiscriminately into a group of men outside Place’s Place on Dundonald Street on March 19, 2010, and Mr Lawes, a barber with no known gang or criminal links, was unlikely to be their target.

That’s of little comfort to Johnathon, who lives in Annotto Bay, Saint Mary, Jamaica.

“We know that he’s not a troublemaker. His personality was that he liked to make friends.

“All I have to say about my brother is that he’s not one to go up round making trouble with people. He was just a quiet, easy-going guy, always looking to make new friends.”

Johnathon says that almost 18 months on from the murder, the first thing he says to his wife when he wakes each day is still: “I miss my brother.”

There isn’t anyone he can call for advice in quite the same way, he adds. “James was very, very close.”

The young mechanic remembers a fun-loving older sibling, known as Junior, who would send money home from Bermuda to help his mother and pay for his son Adijah’s education.

Since he died, family members have rallied together to ensure Adijah, aged seven, can still go to school.

But Johnathon says the murder has been especially tough for his nephew to handle.

“He thoroughly does understand. At the funeral, I have to take him out of the church and try to get him in the car because he was crying and getting in a temper.

“Knowing that his father was a good dad to him and losing him, just like that, it bothers him.”

He says the little boy is just like James: “He’s not a harmful person, he’s no harm to anyone. He likes to go round and make new friends, just like his father.”

Johnathon says his and James’s mother, Lauren Fraser, has taken the death very hard, as have all those in Jamaica who loved the 26-year-old. James also left behind his father, stepfather, two other brothers and two sisters.

It’s important to the family, according to Johnathon, that police solve the murder and bring the shooters to justice.

He says: “I’m just thinking that these people who do it, they should be locked away from civilisation forever.

“Honestly, I’m thinking that these type of people don’t have any heart, any heart at all. These type of people are not supposed to be on earth.”

James married hairdresser Greashena Spence in Jamaica just four months before he was killed; the couple had met while co-workers at the Prestige Beauty Salon.

His widow, 29, spoke of her heartache to this newspaper on the first anniversary of his death. She declined to be interviewed for this article but her mother, community activist Gina Spence, said she encouraged anyone with information about any of the 12 unsolved gang murders since May 2009 to speak up.

“Families need closure to truly heal,” she said. “I would also encourage families to seek ongoing counselling and help, especially for their young children, who are the most vulnerable victims.”

Ms Spence added: “I believe we are at the stage now, as a family, where we are slowly healing and moving on with our lives.

“It is by no means easy but we know Jr would want us to be strong and find solace in remembering all the wonderful moments God blessed us to have him in our life. We will never forget him, for the love we shared with him was unbreakable.”

Johnathon Fraser, brother of James Lawes.

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Published September 19, 2011 at 10:22 am (Updated September 19, 2011 at 10:22 am)

‘To lose him like that, carelessly it hurts’

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