Crackup on Lex Street

It was the biggest mass killing in the city's history. But that doesn't begin to tell the story of what happened that night in West Philadelphia.

By Solomon Jones
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 14 | Posted Feb. 14, 2001

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What Hughes didn't know was that Jermel Lewis, the man who would later confess to the Lex Street murders, was in the room that night with Quiante Perrin, an alleged accomplice.

Perrin addressed the gathering. He expressed dismay about the plight of young children in the community who had trouble reading.

Hughes asked him if he would be willing to tutor those children. Perrin said yes. Then Hughes directed him to speak with a teacher who would help him do it.

"See that man over there?" Hughes told Perrin. "As soon as you leave that microphone, I want you to talk to him."

But Perrin never got the chance to tutor neighborhood children.

On Jan. 12, a visibly shaken Cynthia Jordan stood in the parking lot of police headquarters, nervously awaiting news about her son.

"They arrested my son 7 o'clock this morning," she told reporters. "They came to my house kicking on the door and saying it was the SWAT team. They ran all up in there and had us all in the living room, looking for Quiante. I told them he was upstairs, and they went up there and they searched and everything."

That same day, police also executed warrants for Hezekiah Thomas, Jermel Lewis and Sacon Youk.

Lewis and Youk were charged with murder, burglary, aggravated assault and related offenses. Thomas and Perrin were charged with drug and weapons offenses.

"He's innocent," Cynthia Jordan said of her son. "I know he is. He knew them kids. He grew up with them. Ain't no way. They just lookin' for somebody to blame this shit on. Fifty thousand dollars--anybody gonna talk and say who did it. Why they ain't talk before? They know who did it."

On the other side of the lot, Joseph Porter II, a cousin of victim George Porter, was in shock.

"My cousin, he fought with them, beside them, and they did him like that," Joseph Porter said.

Asked what the shooters' punishment should be, he said, "Death penalty. Give it to 'em."

On Feb. 8, police charged Hezekiah Thomas with attempted murder in an unrelated shooting. They were trying to keep him jailed in connection with the Lex Street murders.

Relatives of the victims worry that Thomas and Perrin, who have not been charged with murder in the Lex Street shootings, may be released. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 1.

Police say their investigation of the Lex Street murders is continuing. They can't make more arrests without probable cause, they say, because the D.A. would be unable to obtain convictions.

They say witnesses must come forward. But the community has been hesitant.

Many are still coming to grips with painful realities.

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 14 of 14
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1. kimmi64 said... on Sep 3, 2008 at 12:22PM

“i could have been there too. i just happen to be at kirkbride rehab center in west philly at the time, not too far from the bottoms. i was that caught out, crack addict,hiv having prostitute that hung out at crack houses like that across the city. to think yhat i could have been laid out on that floor with the rest of them makes me feel unimagineably wonderful, being saved from that horrible death. whew”

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2. adeena said... on Dec 16, 2008 at 07:58AM

“as salaamu alaikum! masha'allah 4 the lives that weren't taken. Alhamdulillah”

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3. none yah said... on Feb 18, 2009 at 09:34AM

“yall dont know nothing about nothing...... ”

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4. Anonymous said... on Apr 28, 2009 at 02:19AM

“It is a damn shame those people lost their lives. I grew up playing ball at the Creek, playing football across from Sorrows and Sis Clara Mohammed, eating at Dwights and it makes me wanna cry for the families that lost loved ones. I've been to Iraq and Korea twice and its a damn shame that my neighborhood is still is disarray.”

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5. Anonymous said... on Jul 13, 2009 at 10:45PM

“There will be a movie about this compelling story sometime next year, and I guarantee the City of Philadelphia is gonna have a question or two to answer. It was indeed a shame that four young men were wrongfully accused, which leads me to believe they just strong-armed and chose those who allegedly "confessed" to the killings.

Tragic.”

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6. kishia hanible said... on Aug 18, 2010 at 01:43AM

“i have read the book watch the dvd listen to the case the youngest one that got killed was my cuzin sam i don't know what went down that night but who ever did the shit will pay rather it be in life or death they will pay and i tell you their is no system that can do what god won't do and beleave me they will suffer....r.i.p to all of them.”

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7. Steve Wright said... on Jul 24, 2011 at 10:42PM

“I left Philly in 1979 for the service to get far away from the violents in the Mill Creek section of town. I returned for a visit to family and friends in June 2011 and in hope to see that this city has improved over the years. Philly is basically the same as I left it which is a shame, When I was growing up there it was alot of shooting and killing like it is now. Growing up on June Street between Parrish and Brown I feelsf or those who lost there life on Lex St. Rest in peace Petey I remember many games of basketball we played at the courts of Mill Creek playground. R.I.P. Petey”

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8. Anonymous said... on Sep 11, 2011 at 04:39PM

“IT SADINS ME TO KNOW I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH A LOT OF THE PPL OF LEX ST... PPL PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE STOP THE VILOENCE THE ELDERLY ARE OUT LIVING THE YOUNG. IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL.......SIMPLY CRAZY!!! WHATS HAPPEN TO LETS SHAKE & MAKE UP!!!!”

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9. Anonymous said... on Jan 17, 2012 at 04:06PM

“SOMETHING JUST TOLD ME TO LOOK UP THIS CRIME.. AND ITS CRAZY HOW IT HAS BEEN TEN YRS AND THINGS HAVENT GOTTEN ANY BETTER..... LIKE SERIOUSLY THE YOUNGEST PERSON WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN 25 LIKE MYSELF. WE WENT TO JAMES RHODES TOGETHER... PPL STOP KILLING OUR FUTURE OFF.. YALL DONT UNDERSTAND THAT, THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON....”

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10. sexylady46 said... on Jan 21, 2012 at 08:43PM

“This sad that these seven ppl was killed over a fucking car”

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11. DownthewayJ said... on May 24, 2012 at 09:09PM

“Grew up in west Philly. Lived on Lancaster Ave. Shame how we continue to kill each other. When will we learn? As-salaamu-alaikum”

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12. mike war said... on Jul 20, 2012 at 07:51AM

“R.I.P JIG

46 street for life! all was senseless

r.i.p buzzy”

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13. ryan said... on Aug 31, 2012 at 12:25PM

“He said, 'This is a press conference, not a community meeting,'" Long recalls. "How can you say that as the mayor. you elected that clown and look where it got you. black people dont get the big picture thats why when you walk into a prison its made up of 65percent blacks. i recall abraham lincoln freed the slaves and yet you vote for democrats the blacks. because they want free money!”

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14. Anonymous said... on Dec 4, 2013 at 06:34PM

“this story needs to be updated. at least 4 other men were charged. the 1st 4 were aquitted.”

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