It has been seven months since the unspeakable tragedy that claimed the life of innocent 12-year old Abdel Bashiti in front of his father’s beauty supply store on Buckeye Rd. in Cleveland.
Bashiti was struck with a stray bullet when shots were fired on Black Friday, the day after the Thanksgiving November 28, 2017, casting a dark cloud on what is annually a festive post holiday shopping spree.
Subsequently five individuals were arrested and charged with the murder of the boy who garnered an outpouring of heartfelt sympathy from the Black community.
It was a day that Taquita McKnight and Marlene McKnight will never forget because it also altered their lives for the worse.
Taquita is the mother of 16-year old Tavion Gideons. Marlene is the grandmother of Gideons.
It was Taquita’s Glendale house that had its doors kicked in when Gideons was targeted as one of the suspects in the murder.
However, according to the McKnight’s and other individuals who spoke to the Call & Post this week, Gideons was not at the scene of the murder when it occurred.
Marlene recalls taking her grandson, who has lived with her since the age of six, to a relatives home in Garfield on the Monday November 24, 2017.
Another source, who was at that Garfield home on Friday November 28, 2017, recalled seeing Gideons at the location around 7p.m.
The McKnight’s also allege that when Marshalls came to the Glendale home where Gideons surrendered, Marshalls told the family that they knew Gideons was not at the crime scene when it occurred.
They said the teenager who was 15 at the time of his arrest, volunteered to surrender and never attempted to flee as multiple media reports described.
“He knew he was innocent. We knew that he was innocent,” Marlene told the Call & Post during an exclusive interview.
“I told him that if he did this then I would pray for him, but he told me that he didn’t and we all knew that it was not possible because he wasn’t there.”
Five more individuals were shot during the shooting spree on Buckeye Rd., south of 116th Street.
Marlene describes her grandson as a good kid who attended church with her on Sundays and often spent time with the wrong crowd and while he knew other suspects in the case that he was not involved in the crime.
Her daughter she says has been heartbroken since the incident occurred and during the seven months that Gideons has spent in Juvenile Detention, he has steadfastly confessed his innocence.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O'Malley charged Gideons along with the other suspects with aggravated murder and attempted murder, among other charges.
Because the suspects were 15, and not 16, the process by which their cases are sent to adult court is discretionary, meaning that a judge will have to decide whether to try them as adults.
Gideons family is hopeful that when he reappears in court on June 27, 2018 that he will be released, but his name and reputation has been permanently tarnished.
The family will not rest until he is freed and on Wednesday June 20, 2018 will be protesting outside the Juvenile Detention Center from 8:30 a.m. till 5p.m.
“We don’t want to see this injustice happen to another innocent child,” Marlene said.
They contend that Gideons was not a model teen, he had also been arrested for aggravated burglary, but as they declare “he is not a murderer.”