Ray Lewis could be playing in his final NFL game this Sunday when his Baltimore Ravens travel to Denver to battle Peyton Manning’s top seeded Broncos. But while there has been a lot of outpour in terms of tributes and farewells to Lewis, some are still very edgy about giving a man once accused of murder props for being a good guy.
Priscilla Lollar is one of those people.
Back in 2000, Priscilla’s son Richard went out to an Atlanta area bar a few days after Super Bowl XXXIV and left in a body bag. This is because on that night, January 31, 2000, Richard and his friend Jacinth Baker were involved in a fight with a group of men that resulted in their deaths. Within that group of men, was Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.
“If I truly accept that he’s not coming back … ” says Lollar said, via USA Today, her voice trailing off as she spoke. “I don’t discuss him in the past. I don’t really acknowledge anything.”
Lewis bargained a plea deal that murder charges against him would be dropped if he testified against two other men that were involved in the incident. Lewis did admit to giving a “misleading” report to police following the incident, and he was therefore plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. The two men Lewis testified against were acquitted in June of the same year.
Richard Lollar was an aspiring artist, and Jacinth Baker was one his way to becoming a barber, with aspirations of possibly one day opening up and owning a barbershop of his own. Both mane had rough upbringings, and both had overcome adversity when so many of their friends hadn’t.
Both died on the same night, in the same bar, from the same exact wounds.
Priscilla says she doesn’t believe her son is dead, although deep down she feels it in her bones. Rather she remains admittedly numb to the situation still to this day, a numbness that returns every time she sees her sons alleged killer in various television commercials or throwing bodies to the ground every Sunday.
Other family members aren’t as numb as Priscilla and are just as stung and angry today as they were 13 years ago.
“My nephew was brutally beaten and murdered and nobody is paying for it,” Baker’s uncle, Greg Wilson said. “Everything is so fresh in our mind, it’s just like it happened yesterday. We’ll never forget this.”
Wilson cites numerous pieces of what he feels is incriminating evidence against Lewis as justification for his rage — and he’s not alone in that feeling. Many people still question the story that was given and the conclusion that resulted. Lewis was seen in a white suit the night of the murder and he fled the scene in a limo full of passengers.
Neither the white suit was never seen again, and the passengers didn’t talk.
The most damning piece of evidence for most that question the story, is the fact that Baker’s blood was found inside of Lewis’ limo following the murder. Lewis said in a 2010 interview that not a day passes where he doesn’t think and pray about the incident and to this day he denies knowing anything more about the murder than everyone else does.
Richard Lollar’s Aunt, Cindy Lollar-Owens, says she believes Lewis’ retirement is in part motivated by the murder that still effects her family to this day. She still holds on to hope that Lewis does indeed pray on the incident everyday and take time to remember the gravity of exactly what happened, guilty or not.
“I’ve seen where he was speaking about family and stuff, and I’m quite sure that every time he sees his son, he thinks about the son, grandson and father that we lost,” Lollar-Owens says. “It would be impossible not to. Never a day goes by that we don’t think about him.”
While some family members are numb, like Priscilla and Cindy Lollar, and other are still enraged to this day, like Wilson and others, there is still one victim being almost forgotten in the whole mess — possibly the most innocent victim of them all.
Richard Lollar’s girlfriend was around eight months pregnant with the couples first child. Lollar never got to see the birth of his daughter, who is now 12, and his daughter has never gotten say hello or give a hug to her father. She, like all the other family members, did not asked to be a part of this but unlike the other family members, Lollar’s daughter has to live the entirety of her life with this situation.
She was literally born into, and now has to live with the burden of it.
Lewis has never met with the families, he’s never offered them any money and he’s never apologized directly. He may be guilty, he may not be but regardless of anyone’s guilt one thing remains a painful fact: Richard Lollar, the aspiring artist who was just starting a family, will never ever hold his daughter and Jacinth Baker will never ever open the barber shop he hoped he would.