GRANITE CITY, IL (KTVI) -A Granite City man is facing first degree murder charges in the death of his own son. Prosecutors charged John Holmon, III, 39, with killing 21 month old Jasean Rusher. Loved ones say the boy was beaten when he wouldn’t eat his breakfast Monday. Authorities confirm he died from a head injury.
The charges were announced just three hours before family and friends gathered in the yard of the home where Jasean was killed to say good bye. Tearful faces were lit by candles, and one stood out in grief more than any other. Dollie Rusher, the little boy’s mother, bravely stood in front of the group, tears running down her face, talking about her little boy.
“He was amazing. He was a little miracle. He was happy. Very happy. Very happy. So smart,” she said through the tears.
She, and those who joined her, tried to make sense of it all as they spoke, but kept returning to the fact that the beating death of the 21 month old was just senseless.
“He didn’t deserve that,” Rusher sobbed. “No child does. No child does. And no family deserves to feel this way. Especially a mother.”
Trisha Quillen, who said she was Jesean’s aunt, said she had no indication of a problem with Holmon as a father.
“When I seen him he acted like he was the daddy, ya know the number one dad,” she said, sitting outside the home where the murder happened. “I just can’t imagine what this guy was thinking to do something like that. Every time I look at my son it’s just, ya know?”
Police found themselves at a similar loss for words. “Monster” is one adjective Granite City Police Major Jeff Conner came up with to describe Holmon.
“As far as any abuse of a child this is one of the worst I’ve seen,” the veteran police detective said. “It was one of those cases that right away you knew it was a crime. It’s a sad case. Very difficult to deal with.”
Prosecutors say the sentence for the first degree murder charge is 60-100 years. But they plan to ask for more. They want Holmon to get life behind bars.
Quillen says he can have life, or they can give him bond and let the family take care of him. She says it makes little difference to her.
“Whatever they do, he ain’t gonna make it wherever he goes. Somebody who could do that. He sat there and premeditated that and he sat there and he let that baby…he let him suffer all that time.”
Holmon is being held without bond in the Madison County Jail.
A fund has been set up at the Granite City Steel Credit Union to help pay for Jasean’s funeral expenses.