BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For three years, residents of Tom Brown Village have worked to cope with the loss of 3-year-old Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney.
Now they have endured a weeklong trial ending in the conviction of Patrick Devone Stallworth, 42, who was found guilty of kidnaping and conspiracy to kidnap.
Neighborhood president Zachary Watkins tells CBS42 there will never truly be closure, but Stallworth’s conviction is one step closer to finding a sense of peace.
Watkins says their community is still grieving and that the ongoing trial has forced them to re-live those tragic memories.
“People are crying, and people are hurting,” said Watkins. “To have to go back through this all over again is just you know, the community is, you know, we’re a strong community, but it just, this right here took a toll on us.”
Watkins says neighbors have learned to rely on one another and watch out for each other’s children.
Some members of nearby communities, like Pastor Vicky Hamilton, have visited the neighborhood to provide for basic needs and offer encouragement.
“Just to help them not have to worry about the burden of that, but just concentrate on healing themselves and allowing God to come in and to heal them too because they were really broken and they haven’t gotten over it, but they are better,” said Hamilton.
Watkins says they are working to provide more adult-supervised safe havens for their children. A newly refurbished pavilion for the neighborhood children will soon be named in honor of Cupcake.
He says they are moving forward with hope for healing.
“I pray that everyone will pray that the family would be able to, you know, cope with what’s going on until they are convicted,” said Watkins. “And they will never find closure, but they will feel a little bit better that those two will not be on the street anymore.”
Watkins says regardless of where you live, we must unite in watching out for one another and our youth.