Three Men Slain at Atlanta Hilton
These were the words that captured the headlines of many newspapers
on Monday the 19th of October, 1998.
Somewhere around 8 a.m. Sunday October the 18th, a maid at the Atlanta
Hilton Hotel discovered the bodies of three men shot to death execution
style in their room on the 24th floor. The three men had been forced
to the floor and shot in the head according to police. The victims
were killed sometimes between midnight and 8 a.m. according to the Atlanta
One of the men shot to death was my son Phillip, Phillip was 31
and a dispatcher for a trucking broker, he had made plans to meet two Florida
clients Sunday at the Atlanta Hilton Towers and then all three were supposed
to attend the Atlanta Falcons-New Orleans Saints game. A game that
they would never attend.
"October 19, 1998"
On the morning of October 19, 1998
somewhere between the hours of 5 and 6 in the morning, the telephone
rang. My husband, Bill answered it and then handed it to me.
I said, "Hello!" and the voice on the other end sounded vaguely like that
of my younger brother Jimmy's voice. Without thinking or listening
closer I said, "Where are you at?". The voice on the other end said, "I
just got in from Atlanta." And then words that a parent never wants
to hear from the other end of the telephone. "Phillip's been murdered!",
and then he began to cry relentlessly. I remember realizing for a
moment that it was Clarence Dover, Philip's father and my ex-husband.
I have never felt such pain. I think I dropped the phone. Later out
of the corner of my eye I noticed that Bill was talking to Clarence on
the phone now but I could not stop the pain and tears . Sometime
after that, I became aware that Bill was no longer on the phone but was
holding me in his arms. I finally managed to force myself to speak,
"What Happened?", I asked. Poor Bill, all he knew to tell me was
that Phillip and two other men had been shot to death in the Atlanta Hilton
Towers. Phillip had been identified by a small tattoo on his ankle.
Clarence had been called by a detective that asked about Phillip and someone
named Ron. Clarence had told him that he did not know anyone named
Ron and then asked him why he was asking about them. That was when
he told Clarence about Phillip and the two other men. They refused
to allow him to see Phillip after he drove to Atlanta but instead had him
identify Phillip from a picture of the tattoo on his ankle.
I still could not stop crying.
Bill called our other children and my parents. He then called my
younger brother and asked him to contact my older brother, David.
Bill also called my work place and informed them of what had happened.
Paula and Katie (co-workers) immediately came over but I couldn't
see anyone at that time. I just wanted my son back......I wanted
someone to tell me this was all a mistake. Then just out of the blue,
it dawned on me how they said that he had died. He was shot twice
in the head. I cried, "My God, please do not have let him suffer."
Phillip was my first child.
I was only eighteen when I had Phillip. My youth child! There
is over ten years between Phillip and his brothers, Jamie and Tommy.
So Phillip and I developed a special relationship. He was such a
perfect little baby when he was born and we were such proud parents.
Of course he was spoiled, isn't all first-born? Every thing he did
was special and cute to us and we loved him so much. A mother's love
is an unconditional love that last beyond time itself. I cannot begin
to tell you the pain that you feel when you loose a child but I pray you
never experience it. Parents should never have to go through this,
it was not meant to be. We are not supposed to outlive our children.
It leaves an emptiness that never leaves.
My Phillip died a horrible death.
Shot twice in the head. Phillip was 31 years young. He
leaves two beautiful daughters. Both his friends that died with him
had families. I know their pain and hurt and my heart cries out for
them as well. So many lives destroyed in just a split second by someone
who will never know the pain that he left behind. Every night of
my life I hope that in the morning I will awake from this awful nightmare.
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