Less than two hours before midnight on New Year’s Eve 2009, Denise King, mother of Simmie Williams, Jr. (17-year old openly gay African-American teen murdered) collapsed and passed away at age 40 in her apartment, just two blocks from her son’s murder site. Denise is survived by her children: Brittany (21), Terrell (17), Tavaris (16), and Davaughn (12); grandson Jamar, Jr. (3); her mother Maudie Lee; and her aunt Rose Barnes. Brittany is expected to give birth to a baby boy on February 22, 2010. Denise was a devoted mother to her family and worked hard to provide opportunities for her children. Since February 2008, she struggled daily with anguish in the torment of Simmie’s murderer(s) not having been brought to justice. In the face of adversity, Denise remained a brave and strong woman and became a passionate spokeswoman fighting intolerance.
On February 22, 2008, 17-year-old Simmie Willliams Jr. was shot to death at the corner of 10th Avenue and Sistrunk Boulevard. Initial reports suggest two unknown men may have shouted anti-gay slurs and killed the young man. The case remains unsolved.
The Simmie Williams case became even more tragic because five years earlier, another young black gay man, and a friend of their family, was killed on that same stretch of Sistrunk Blvd. Twenty-two-year-old Timothy Broadus was the son of one of King's neighbors. Broadus was shot dead on Jan. 8, 2003. That murder also remains unsolved.
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