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W.Va. Supreme Court Upholds Sentence in Deadly Child Neglect Case

By: Cathleen Moxley, Anna Baxter, WSAZ News Staff Email
By: Cathleen Moxley, Anna Baxter, WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 10/7/13 @ 6 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has made a ruling in a deadly case of child neglect that made headlines across the country.

Ethan Chic-Colbert was convicted of causing the death of 11-year-old Jahlil Clements.

In March 2012, Chic Colbert was hitting the little boy's mother in the front seat of their car.

She pulled over along Interstate 77 in Charleston.

As Jahlil ran out into traffic and tried to get help, he was hit and killed.

Chic-Colbert, who is serving three years in prison, asked the high court to reconsider the sentence.

In a ruling Monday afternoon, the court decided Chic-Colbert will have to serve that all that time behind bars.



UPDATE 10/19/12 @ 5:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Jahlil Clements was just 11 years old when he was hit and killed by a car. It happened last March while he was trying to get help for his mom -- who was being attacked by her boyfriend.

Now, advocates for domestic violence awareness are taking steps to make sure Jahlil is never forgotten.

“I was afraid to leave,” Jamie Lee-Hackney, a domestic violence survivor, said.

Lee-Hackney was in an abusive marriage that could have ended much worse. Lynitrah Woodson, Jahlil’s mother, wasn't so lucky.

A new sign installed on Interstate 64/77 now serves as a constant reminder of her son. It stands in the exact area where Jahlil was killed.

“Kids are always affected by domestic violence when it goes on in the household, but I’ve never seen anything like this before -- to this magnitude,” Elizabeth Crawford, director of the Domestic Violence and Counseling Center, said.

Crawford is also a domestic violence therapist, but her main goal is to prevent abuse. That's where the new sign and Lee-Hackney come in.

“I understood where that little boy was coming from,” Lee-Hackney said about Jahlil.

Lee-Hackney has two sons of her own, who tried to help her when she was abused.

“Thank God it didn't get to a situation like that,” she said.

With help from the counseling center, Lee-Hackney got out and is now in a safe and loving marriage. After hearing about Jahlil, she's calling on her past to help others.
She now publicly speaks out against domestic violence.

“He had already almost beaten me to death. Really, what else could he do to me? So, it was just taking that step of knowing get out before you do end up dead,” Lee-Hackney said.

For anyone who is a victim of domestic violence, there is help available.

You can start by contacting the counseling center in Charleston. The number is 304-342-7752.



UPDATE 10/19/12 @ 10:40 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- If you drive on Interstate 77 through Charleston, you'll notice a new memorial for a young boy who lost his life during an act of domestic violence.

A crew with the West Virginia Division of Highways installed the roadside sign for Jahlil Clements Friday morning between the Leon Sullivan Way and Greenbrier Street exits on I-77.

The sign reads "Please Drive Safely, In Memory of Jahlil Clements."

Jahlil was hit by a vehicle and killed in that area last March. At the time, he was trying to flag down help for his mother, who was in their car and being attacked by her boyfriend.



UPDATE 8/15/12 @ 11:20 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Raw emotion and pain were seen in the courtroom as the case closed on the death of a young boy who died trying to protect his mother.

A jury found Ethan Chic-Colbert guilty of three counts of child neglect, one count of child neglect resulting in death and one count of domestic battery last month. On Wednesday, he learned his sentence.

Chic-Colbert will spend between six and 30 years behind bars for the charges. He will then be on supervised release for 25 years.

Police say Chic-Colbert was attacking his girlfriend when she pulled over on the interstate. Her 11-year-old son Jahlil Clements jumped out to flag down help when he was hit and killed.

Jahlil's mom shared her agony before the sentence was handed down Wednesday afternoon.

"My life is destroyed now," Lynitrah Woodson said. "I won't see him graduate from high school, go off to college, fall in love, nothing."

Upset and brokenhearted, Woodson faced her former partner and describes his actions that she says shook her world.

"Those physical injuries have healed but they are nothing compared to the heartache and the pain, the emptiness that I face every single day," Woodson said. "You deprived me of everything -- you show no remorse, you show nothing, you couldn't even say it today that you're sorry."

Prosecutors brought more evidence against Chic-Colbert. Testimony revealed he was tied to Charleston gangs and drugs. That will be considered when Chic-Colbert is eligible for parole in six years.

An intelligence officer with the Charleston Police Department also testified during Wednesday's hearing that Colbert ran local gang websites on MySpace.

In court, prosecutors played several recorded phone calls placed after Chic-Colbert was found guilty. Contacting a victim during a case is against court orders. Prosecutors say Chic-Colbert called Woodson four times since the trial.

"They told me what to say on the stand, Lynitrah," Chic-Colbert said on the phone. "They told me not to say anything to close the whole thing."

"There's nothing for us to talk about," Woodson said on the phone. "I can't bring my son back and neither can you."

When it was his turn to defend himself, Chic-Colbert appeared to break down and shed tears.

"I just want everybody to know that I loved Jahlil with all my heart," Chic-Colbert said. "And that I won't let Jahlil's name die in vain."

However, the judge didn't buy it and questioned his truthfulness now and under oath.

"I think he has no remorse, none," Jahlil's grandmother Treva Woodson said. "I think he deserves way more time."

Chic-Colbert could spend up to three decades behind bars, while a family serves life without their Jahlil.

Chic-Colbert was originally charged with kidnapping and murder but the judge threw out those charges during trial, stating that prosecutors failed to meet the burden of proof.



UPDATE 8/15/12 @ 3:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man charged in connection with the death of a 11-year-old could spend decades behind bars.

Ethan Chic Colbert was in court Wednesday to learn his fate. Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom sentenced Colbert to six to 30 years in prison.

Last month a jury found Colbert guilty of three counts of child neglect, one count of child neglect resulting in death and one count of domestic battery.

Colbert was originally charged with murder in connection with the death of 11-year-old Jahlil, who was trying to find help for his mother when he was hit and killed by a car on I-77.

Murder charges were dropped when Judge Duke Bloom says the state failed to meet burden of proof when it comes to the charges.

During the sentencing hearing Wednesday, Colbert apologized to Jahlil's family and told the court that he hung out with the wrong crowd, but he loved Jahlil and says he will miss him.

However, Jahlil's mother stated that she blames Colbert for her son's death. During Wednesday's hearing, she told the judge that Colbert has destroyed her life.

An intelligence officer with the Charleston Police Department also testified during Wednesday's hearing that Colbert ran local gang websites on MySpace.

The officer also says Colbert admitted to being in a gang and his job was to sell drugs.

Despite opposition from Colbert's attorney, recorded phone calls were played during the hearing that Colbert made from jail to the Jahlil's mother after his trial.

Colbert's attorney asked the judge to sentence Colbert to the Anthony Center so he could get a GED and turn his life around and become a productive member of society. However, the judge sent Colbert to prison.

After the sentencing, the victim's family left the courtroom crying.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/10/12 @ 5:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The man charged in connection with the death of an 11-year-old boy has been found guilty.

Ethan Chic Colbert has been found guilty of three counts of child neglect, one count of child neglect resulting in death and one county of domestic battery.

Colbert was originally charged with murder in connection with the death of 11-year-old Jahlil, who was trying to find help for his mother when he was hit and killed by a car on I-77.

Murder charges were dropped when Judge Duke Bloom says the state failed to meet burden of proof when it comes to the charges.

The trial was an emotional ordeal for just about everyone involved.

Following are some of their comments:

"Is this the face of a woman, being beaten by a man, three days after being stomped in the face, having her face being pounded in the pavement, being kicked. Is this what she looks like three days later?" (Justin Collin - defense attorney)

"I want to know what's in your mind." "Let's leave that up to a jury." "You've got a deal. We'll leave that up to a jury. You got anything else you want to add before I step down?" "No sir." (Ethan Chic Colbert - defendant)

"It will give me a little bit of closure. I mean, it will never go away ... it always hurts at the end of my day and at the beginning of my day and all day I think about him (Jahlil). But it gives me a little more belief in the justice system because I thought he (Colbert) was going to walk away." (Thomasina Clements - Jahlil's grandmother)

"Nobody knows the insides like I do ... I live with her everyday and -- she's trying, she's trying the best she can but this is going to give her strength." (Treva Woodson - mother of Lynitrah Woodson, Jahlil's mom)

"He just hurt his own self, he just really cocky and that was his own doing ..." (Latasha Nappier - Jahlil's cousin)

"It's like a burden lifted off of us knowing that some type of justice was served." (Tera Salango - prosecutor)

"I do believe Jahlil did die a hero that day...he was certainly trying to save his mom and trying to flag down help for her." (Tera Salango - prosecutor)

"Obviously the type of person who can accept no responsibility for his actions, so it didn't surprise me that that was his defense." (Tera Salango - prosecutor)



UPDATE 7/10/12 @ 3:55 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Felony murder and kidnapping charges have been dropped against a man charged in the death of a 11-year-old child from Charleston.

Ethan Chic Colbert was on trial in the murder of Jahlil Clements.

In March, police say Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he started hitting her. She stopped the car along Interstate 77.

Colbert then dragged her out of the car and continued to beat her, according to investigators. That's when her 11-year-old son, Jahlil, got out of the car and tried to flag down help for his mom.

He was accidentally hit and killed by another car.

After the state rested its case Tuesday afternoon, the judge dropped the two charges.

Colbert is now only facing a felony child neglect resulting in death charge. Prosecutors say Colbert could still face 31 years behind bars for that charge.

Judge Duke Bloom says the state failed to meet burden of proof when it comes to the charges.

Colbert's attorneys asked the judge for an acquittal on all charges because they believe this is a domestic battery case and an incident that had unfortunate consequences.

Jahlil's mother, Lynitrah Woodson, was visibly upset when she found out the murder and kidnapping charges will be dropped.

After the jury was informed about the charges dropped, the defense called Colbert to the stand to testify in his own defense.

Colbert told the jury he wasn't the one who started the fight. He testified Woodson was the one who hit him in the face in the car.

Colbert says Woodson was running after him on the Interstate and tripped him. He claimed she shouted "You're going to jail."

Colbert told the jury he didn't see Jahlil get hit by the car and he ran away to try and get away from Woodson.

He also testified he was telling the truth and other state witnesses, including the young boys in the car, were lying.

Chic Colbert says he will not accept responsibility for Jahlil's death. He told the court he did nothing wrong.

Earlier in the day, Woodson painted a different story and testified Colbert was "acting silly" and then his demeanor changed just before they got into the car.

Woodson told the jury she saw Colbert's leg shaking before he said "God forgive me" before they got on the interstate. Woodson claims Colbert hit her in the face several times and she blacked out. She says she woke up seeing bright lights and was dragged by her hair out of the car.

Woodson says during the incident Colbert shouted "Why would you lie? I'm going to kill you."

During this portion of the testimony, Woodson was shown pictures of injuries she says she sustained after being dragged from the car by Colbert.

"I tried to walk to my baby... seen my car in the middle of the interstate with my infant in it," Woodson testified. "I dropped to my knees."

Woodson told the jury she also remembers seeing the boys jumping and shouting Jahlil's name after he was struck by the car.

"It still feels like yesterday," Woodson told the jury.

The prosecution asked Woodson questions for about 30 minutes before it rested.

During cross examination, the defense compared Woodson's testimony to the statements she gave police after the alleged crime.

Also Tuesday, a child who was in the car when the fight broke out and Jahlil was hit, testified about what he saw.

The boy was very emotional on the stand as he told the jury he saw the accident happened and even walked over to Jahlil to try and help him.

The boy testified he told Jahlil to get back in the car, but he didn't listen.

Closing arguments got underway just after 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Assistant Prosecutor Tera Salango finished her closings by calling Jahlil a hero. She says Jahlil is a hero for fighting to protect his mother.

Defense followed with its closing arguments.

The jury started deliberating about 4:20 p.m.

We have a crew in the courtroom. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/10/12 @ Noon
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The mother of an 11-year-old boy hit and killed along Interstate 77 in Charleston took the stand to testify against her former boyfriend she believes is responsible for her son's death.

Ethan Chic Colbert is on trial in the murder of Jahlil Clements.

In March, police say Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he started hitting her. She stopped the car along Interstate 77.

Colbert then dragged her out of the car and continued to beat her, according to investigators. That's when her 11-year-old son, Jahlil, got out of the car and tried to flag down help for his mom.

He was accidentally hit and killed by another car.

Prosecutors called Woodson to the stand Tuesday to tell the jury her account of what happened during the time leading up to Jahlil's death. Woodson was very emotional as she described what happened.

She told the jury that Colbert was "acting silly" and then his demeanor changed just before they got into the car.

Woodson told the jury she saw Colbert's leg shaking before he said "God forgive me" before they got on the interstate. Woodson claims Colbert hit her in the face several times and she blacked out. She says she woke up seeing bright lights and was dragged by her hair out of the car.

Woodson says during the incident Colbert shouted "Why would you lie? I'm going to kill you."

During this portion of the testimony, Woodson was shown pictures of injuries she says she sustained after being dragged from the car by Colbert.

"I tried to walk to my baby...seen my car in the middle of the interstate with my infant in it," Woodson testified. "I dropped to my knees."

Woodson told the jury she also remembers seeing the boys jumping and shouting Jahlil's name after he was struck by the car.

"It still feels like yesterday," Woodson told the jury.

The prosecution asked Woodson questions for about 30 minutes before it rested.

During cross examination, the defense compared Woodson's testimony to the statements she gave police after the alleged crime.

Earlier in the morning, a child who was in the car when the fight broke out and Jahlil was hit, testified about what he saw.

The boy was very emotional on the stand as he told the jury he saw the accident happened and even walked over to Jahlil to try and help him.

The boy testified he told Jahlil to get back in the car, but he didn't listen.

Meanwhile, Colbert told the judge before the trial got underway Tuesday that he wants to testify in his own defense. His testimony is expected to happen later today or early Wednesday.

Colbert is charged with murder, child neglect resulting in death, kidnapping and child neglect with the possibly of causing injury.

Last week Colbert attorney's asked for the murder and kidnapping charges to be dropped. Judge Duke Bloom said no, but that he would reconsider after the prosecution rests in the trial.



UPDATE 7/10/12 @ 9:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A murder trial in the Kanawha Valley has entered its second day and the suspect Ethan Chic Colbert says he wants to tell his side of the story.

Colbert told Judge Duke Bloom Tuesday morning he wanted to testify.

In March, police say Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he started hitting her. She stopped the car along Interstate 77.

Colbert then dragged her out of the car and continued to beat her, according to investigators. That's when her 11-year-old son, Jahlil, got out of the car and tried to flag down help for his mom.

He was accidentally hit and killed by another car.

Tuesday morning, a child who was in the car when the fight broke out and Jahlil was hit testified about what he saw. A Charleston police officer is on the stand right now and Jahlil's mother, Lynitrah Woodson is expected to testify later Tuesday afternoon.

We have a crew in the courtroom. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 7/9/12 @ 6:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Monday was the first day of a trial in the Kanawha Valley that is gaining national attention.

Ethan Chic Colbert is facing murder and kidnapping charges, after police say a fight with his girlfriend led to the death of her 11-year-old son Jahlil.

In March, Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car when the two got into a fight.

A child who was in the backseat says Colbert started punching Woodson as they were driving down Interstate 77 in Charleston.

That boy took the stand Monday. He says Lynitrah pulled the car over as she was being beaten.

"He just kept hitting her in the face," the 11-year-old told the court. "That's all I seen. It ended with Jahlil getting hit, and I don't think Ethan knew about it."

Jahlil first tried to stop Ethan's alleged attack while he was sitting in the backseat. Then, after witnesses say Ethan dragged Lynitrah out of the car, Jahlil ran into the interstate to flag down a driver for help.

Mary Crist pulled over to help after she saw Woodson's car crashed alongside the interstate.

"I seen a little boy standing," Crist said. "He was like flagging or waving and, oh my God, he was run over ... he was hit by the car."

Jahlil died at the hospital from his injuries.

Monday morning, Colbert's attorney asked for those murder and kidnapping charges to be dropped.

The judge said no, but that he would reconsider after the prosecution rests its case.

Court TV is also covering the case. It will air the trial at a later date.



UPDATE 5/29/12 @ 11:05 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The trial for a man charged with the death of a little boy has been set for later this summer.

Ethan Chic Colbert was arraigned on several charges, including murder and child neglect resulting in death Tuesday morning at the Kanawha County Courthouse in Charleston.

Colbert pleaded not guilty in the case and his trial was set for July 9.

In March, police say Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he started hitting her. She stopped the car along Interstate 77.

Colbert then dragged her out of the car and continued to beat her, according to investigators. That's when her 11-year-old son, Jahlil, got out of the car and tried to flag down help for his mom.

He was accidentally hit and killed by another car.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/21/12 @ 6:45 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man from Charleston is facing charges of murder and abuse after a little boy was hit and killed by a car while trying to get help for his mom.

Police say Ethan Chic-Colbert was beating Lynitrah Woodson in a car along Interstate 77 in Charleston in March.

Woodson's son Jahlil Clements, who was just 11, got out and tried to flag down help when he was hit and killed.

Chic-Colbert has now been indicted on a long list of charges including first-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death, kidnapping and domestic battery.

"It's good to see he's going to have to face those charges of what he's done," Woodson's grandfather Howard Nappier said.

The word quickly spread that a man accused of violence and abuse is now indicted for murder.

According to the courts, Chic-Colbert has a history of domestic violence.

"Really, this incident never should have happened; he (Clements) never should have been there," Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants said. "That's part of the theory as to why it's felony murder."

The lengthy list of charges against Chic-Colbert doesn't help the victim's family heal, but does push them to overcome a night burned into their memories forever.

"The family is in the rebuilding to accept what has happened and just go on with life right now, but it's hard, very hard," Nappier said. "I see it in the kids and I see it in my daughter and I see it in my granddaughter."

Family members say Lynitrah Woodson is still broken-hearted and undergoing counseling. They say she is blaming herself for the domestic violence that's shaken all of them to the core.

"I want to see her get up and just pick herself up and accept what has been done," Nappier said. "You've got to live and go on with life."

The grandparents of Woodson are both pastors at a church in St. Albans. They say they want this tragic story to be a life lesson for women in abusive relationships. They're planning to start a program at their church to help women in similar situations.

Jahlil's story has made it all the way to the U.S. Capitol. U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, D-W.Va., shared his story with Congress in an effort to get changes to the Domestic Violence Against Women Act passed.

Chic-Colbert's trial is set for May 29.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.



UPDATE 5/21/12 @ 11:05 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The suspect charged in a brutal attack that ended with a little boy being hit and killed by a car was indicted on several charges Monday, including first degree murder.

Ethan Chic-Colbert was indicted on kidnapping, domestic battery, first degree murder, child neglect resulting in death and three counts of child neglect creating risk of serious bodily injury and death.

Police say Chic-Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he started hitting her. She stopped the car along Interstate 77 near the Leon Sullivan exit. Chic-Colbert then dragged her out of the car and continued to beat her.

Woodson's son, Jahlil Clements, who was just 11, got out of the car and tried to flag down help when he was hit and killed by a passing car.

Chic-Colbert's trial was set for May 29.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.



UPDATE 5/3/12 @ 11:10 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The suspect charged in a brutal attack that ended with a little boy being hit and killed by a car was back in court Thursday trying to get his bond lowered in hopes of getting out of jail.

Ethan Chic-Colbert is charged with four counts of child neglect creating the risk of injury or death.

Police say Chic-Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he started hitting her. She stopped the car along Interstate 77. Chic-Colbert then dragged her out of the car and continued to beat her.

Woodson's son, Jahlil Clements, who was just 11, got out of the car and tried to flag down help when he was hit and killed by a passing car.

During his hearing Thursday, the judge denied the request to lower his bond. Chic-Colbert's bond will remain at $100,000 cash only.



UPDATE 3/13/12 @ 8:15 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- We're getting a new look at a brutal attack that ended with a little boy being hit and killed by a car.

Ethan Chic-Colbert was in court Tuesday for his preliminary hearing. He's facing four counts of child neglect creating the risk of injury or death.

Police say Chic-Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he started hitting her. She stopped the car along Interstate 77. Chic-Colbert then dragged her out of the car and continued to beat her.

Woodson's son, Jahlil Clements, who was just 11, got out of the car and tried to flag down help when he was hit and killed by a passing car.

Hiding from the cameras and not showing his face during the majority of his hearing, Chic-Colbert sat motionless as he listened to witnesses describe that fateful night.

Mary Christ was driving home with a friend when she saw Woodson's car parked along the interstate. She thought it had broken down, so she stopped to help.

"We started to go across the road, and there was this man on top of a woman," she said. "He was kicking her butt with his fist. You know, beating the crap outta her."

Christ said she started to run back to her car to get her cell phone when she saw 11-year-old Jahlil Clements get hit while trying to get help for his mother.

"I hadn't seen the little boy standing in the road until the lights hit him," Christ said. "And he, the little boy, got run over."

At that point, Christ said Chic-Colbert started to run away.

"Didn't help that little boy. Didn't do nothing," Christ said. "My friend was holding his hand. Kept saying, 'Look at me baby boy.' "

Charleston Police Detective Brian Jones interviewed Chic-Colbert that night and said he claimed he was the one being attacked and that's why he body-slammed Woodson.

"His explanation was his mother told him to body-slam them to get away," Jones said. "And I asked him that question again. I said, 'Your mother told you to body-slam a female to get away?' And then he corrected himself. He was trying to push her away from him because he felt that he was the victim."

Instead, the victim here is a little boy who lost his life trying to find help for his mom.

Bond modification for Chic-Colbert was also denied at the hearing. It still stands at $100,000 cash only.



UPDATE 3/10/12 @ 6 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Friends and family are saying goodbye to a little boy who's life was cut way too short. Jahlil Clements, 11, was killed while trying to protect his mother who was being attacked by her boyfriend, Ethan Samuel Chic-Colbert.

Jahlil jumped out of a car to flag down help on Interstate 77. The driver of a passing car didn't see him and hit Jahlil, killing him.

Chic-Colbert has since been charged with child neglect causing death.

On Saturday, funeral services were held for Jahlil, drawing hundreds of people.

A salute to a hero.

"I will never be able to understand how and why something so tragic could happen to such a beautiful soul," said Jahlil's father in a letter read by Jared Smith.

Saturday, hundreds of family, friends and community members packed the Abundant Life Ministries in Charleston to honor 11-year-old Jahlil Clements, who was hit and killed by a car last week, trying to find help for his mother.

"To say he was special sounds trite and cliché yet this was simply the truth," said Jahlil's teacher in a letter read by Aleesha Gray. "He was truly exceptional in so many ways."

Teacher describe him as soft-spoken, yet full of personality and instantly popular with his classmates. His friends agree.

"He was a nice, fun loving kid that I don't know anybody who he didn't get along with," said Jacob Roderick, Jahlil's friend.

While the pain is still raw, Saturday it was all about remembering and honoring Jahlil, who's being hailed as a hero for his brave acts last week.

"I always swore that I would protect you by any means," said Jahlil's father in a letter read by Smith. "Be with you and protect you my whole life. Boy you know if i could trade places with you I would trade place. I hate the situation you were put in but I understand you needed to help protect your mother."

Now this young hero is in his final resting place.

As for Chic-Colbert, he's still in the South Central Regional Jail on a $100,000 bond.



UPDATE 3/5/12 @ 10:30 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A Charleston man faces criminal charges after an 11-year-old boy died from injuries suffered Sunday as he was hit by a car on Interstate 77 in Charleston while trying to get help for his mother.

The alleged crime happened in March.

According to the criminal complaint, Ethan Samuel Chic-Colbert was a passenger in Lynitrah Woodson's car, along with four children, when he is accused of hitting her in the face. Woodson stopped her vehicle along Interstate 77 in the area of Leon Sullivan exit in Charleston to keep him from hitting her, according to police.

Charleston Police say once the vehicle was stopped, Chic-Colbert grabbed Woodson by the hands and began to drag her across the interstate from the lane next to the retaining wall over to the emergency lane.

Woodson's son, Jahlil Clements, 11, of Charleston, got out of the vehicle and was walking in the far right lane, trying to flag down another car for help when he was hit by a vehicle, according to investigators. Jahlil suffered a head injury and was taken to CAMC General where he was later pronounced dead.

The car was still stopped in the traffic lane when the driver swerved to miss the car and didn't see Jahlil and hit him.

The other children in the car were not hurt.

Chic-Colbert is Woodson's boyfriend, and they are the parents of one of the children who was in the car.

Family members say Chic-Colbert had a history of abusing Woodson, something that bothered Jahlil.

Jahlil's great-grandmother Estella Nappier said, "He just didn't like the way he talked to his mom. He never did. And so, my daughter was constantly telling Lynitrah, 'You need to get this man out of your life because he's going to cause Jahlil some trouble because Jahlil loves you and he's always going to take up for you.'"

Court documents show at one point Woodson tried to end the relationship when she obtained a domestic violence petition ordering Chic-Colbert not to contact her.

He saw her at a convenience store one day last July and began to threaten her, according to a criminal complaint.

Chic-Colbert allegedly told her he was going to "blow her brains all over the concrete."

Woodson contacted police, who charged Chic-Colbert with violating the terms of the domestic violence petition.

The case was dismissed in October when Woodson did not attend a court hearing.

"We know the most dangerous times for victims of domestic violence is when they take steps to leave the relationship," says Angie Rosser, communications coordinator with the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Elizabeth Crawford is director of the Domestic Violence Counseling Center on Charleston's West Side.

She says there are added barriers for people in the African-American community who seek to get out of violent relationships.

"There's still that stigma that they're going to be treated unfairly, or that the victim may feel that her offender is going to be mistreated. So, there's an awful lot of mistrust," Crawford says.

Chic-Colbert is charged with child neglect creating risk of bodily injury or death. He's being held on $100,000 bond.



ORIGINAL STORY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- An 11 year-old-boy has died from injuries suffered when he was hit by a car on Interstate 77 in Charleston while trying to get help for his mother.

Charleston police identified the victim as Jahill Clements.

Police tell media outlets that the mother, 30-year-old Lynitrah M. Woodson, was driving southbound about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when she and her boyfriend, 21-year-old Ethan Samuel Chic-Colbert, got into an argument.

Police say Chic-Colbert hit Woodson and then dragged her out of the vehicle after she pulled over.

Clements got out and tried to flag down a passing vehicle. The driver didn't see the boy and hit him. Clements died Sunday evening at a Charleston hospital.

Chic-Colbert is charged with child neglect causing injury. He's being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.


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