YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Five years ago, Jamail Johnson was shot to death at an off-campus Youngstown State University fraternity house. Today, Johnson’s mother, Shirlene Hill, is keeping her son’s memory alive.
A tree in front of Kilcawley Center on YSU’s campus looks just like any other tree, but for Johnson’s family, it means so much more.
“It’s the tree of life representing these children that are here at YSU,” Hill said. “The branches keep growing and growing. My son’s legacy will live on forever.”
Friends and family often come to the tree to remember him.
“He was loving, kind. He just loved people,” Hill said. “My heart aches every day. It’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son.”
Johnson’s life was tragically cut short when he was shot outside of the Omega Psi Phi house on Indiana Avenue.
Hill says he was not breaking up a fight, but three men came to the back door with guns.
“[Johnson] said, ‘You don’t have to do this, let’s talk about it.’ If they only took heed of my son’s last three words, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Columbus Jones and Braylon Rogers were charged with his murder.
“You know what, they got a life sentence, but so did I…I will always miss my son,” she said.
His fraternity brothers take care of Hill to keep Johnson’s love alive.
“They’ve become my sons that see after me. At every win, my birthday, Mother’s Day. Don’t a time go by that these young men don’t check on Momma.”
Hill says prayers and forgiveness help her get through each day.
“I’ve forgiven those young men and I pray that before they close their eyes on this world, that they ask God to forgive them because that’s who can truly forgive them.”