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Justice may be closer for Jaronn

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It’s a shame most of us only got to know Jaronn Ladale McAllister because of his violent death March 1, 2012.
The 3-year-old Shallotte boy was full of the unlimited potential all small children have, and someone cruelly robbed it from him, from us.
It’s been a long time coming — far too long, some say — but at last someone is being held responsible for killing him.
The indictment of Montey Andrea Murray may be the first big step toward justice for Jaronn. The little boy was in Murray’s care when he died, and he has been on the short list of suspects in the crime since then.
Let’s not lose sight of what Murray’s indictment means and what it doesn’t.
It means he is to be tried in a court of law, not a court of public opinion.
It means he is innocent unless proven guilty.
It means, should he stand trial, everyone in the courtroom will relive the last moments of a 3-year-old’s life through evidence and argument.
It means Jaronn’s family and all who loved him will relive those moments, too, and the pain will be unimaginably excruciating. Remember, when Jaronn died, they became victims of the crime as well.
Details previously kept out of the public eye will be revealed, to our collective horror. They will be the details investigators have been living with to this point. The image we may conjure of the body of a small child who’s been beaten to death likely isn’t worse than the reality of it for those who have seen it up close.
You don’t have to be a parent to know Jaronn didn’t deserve this fate. We all know there is nothing in this world a 3-year-old can do to warrant such brutality.
And there seems to be nothing this community has wanted more than for someone to be punished for inflicting it.
The community may yet get its wish.
But not yet. A deliberate, methodical, lawful — and yes, slow — procedure must be followed to ensure justice is served for the victim and the accused.
One year, five months and four days is a long time to wait. Time hasn’t dulled our memory of Jaronn and what happened to him. The days, months and year ahead will drag as we await the outcome of this case.
It’s time for this sad story to end.
It’s time for Jaronn to rest in peace.