This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class. The student credited above wrote this story as a class project.
Jerrold Williams was known as a kind-hearted, goofy person that was truly loved by his family.
“If he could give you anything or help you out, he wouldn’t hesitate,” his mother Delores Williams said.
Jerrold loved to help the local elders. He would often help them cross the street or ever go grocery shopping for them, his mother said.
“He was just a good man and could brighten up anyone’s day from just talking to them,” Beverly Williams said of her older brother.
Jerrold was born the middle child. He had an older brother who had passed away when Jerrold was younger, so it was just him and his little sister, Beverly. Jerrold was the kind of kid who was all over the place and full of energy. “Out of all three he would always play jokes on people,” Delores said.
With the loss of their older brother, Beverly and Jerrold formed an incredibly close bond. “We were all we had. He was like the daddy big brother always telling on me and getting me in trouble,” Beverly recalled. “I was the little sister and wanted to do whatever he did.”
The two siblings shared a love of sports, including being fans of the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys. When he was younger, Jerrold dreamed of being a football player. “Jerrold taught me how to play basketball and I actually ended up playing in school,” Beverly said. “Everything I learned was from him.”
On December 11, 2002, Delores and Beverly were home when the phone rang requesting that they come to the hospital immediately.
When the two women arrived shortly after midnight, they discovered that Jerrold was unconscious and listed in critical condition, having been shot in the head. His condition quickly deteriorated and was eventually pulled off life support.
Jerrold was at a friend’s house on the north side of Jacksonville. Investigators have been tight-lipped regarding the situations and the Williams family has been given conflicting stories from witnesses and locals about what happened that night leading to his murder.
Jerrold Williams was 28 years old when he succumbed to his injuries.
Jerrold was the father of three children at the time of his death. Following his passing, Williams’ longtime girlfriend Kimberly Strawder gave birth to their fourth child.
Delores Williams said she feels joy when she sees her grandchildren and now great-grandchildren because they all have a piece of Jerrold. “You can look at them and tell that they are Jerrold’s children,” she said. “It’s his features.” Jerrold would be a grandfather now. “His grandson – I call him my main – he walks like him, talks like him, acts like him, and looks like him. It’s so fulfilling,” Delores said.
Jerrold’s mother and sister still do not know who pulled the trigger or why it happened.
“You never know if the person you’re standing next to in the grocery store could have done it or they live in your neighborhood,” his mother said. All they want is to have closure for the loss of their loved one and the pain they have been enduring over the years.
But what Delores and Beverly have is the love and memories they shared with Jerrold. When they see his children, it fills their hearts with joy. When they simply reminisce on the good times they had with him, it takes them back to that happy time and place. They are happy to have these good memories to share with one another and his children so they can know what a great, loving, funny, and amazing man he was during his life.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Jerrold Williams, please call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500. To remain anonymous and possibly be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-TIPS.
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