Community remembers smile, legacy of murdered 13-year-old - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Community remembers smile, legacy of murdered 13-year-old

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
Toone, TN (WMC) -

A Mid-South community came together Saturday to mourn the loss of a 13-year-old boy while remembering his life and the legacy he left.

Javarrie "Jo Jo" Robertson was laid to rest during a funeral service at Antioch Baptist Church, the same church Jo Jo loved and served. 

The Toone Elementary School student was murdered, along with his father, in his father's home in Toone on October 21. But, it was the life that he led and the love of others from the young heart that family and friends will remember.

It was standing room only in the church as friends and family remembered the smile, warmth, and huge heart of Duke.

"What a blessing he has been to me. I just hope I was a blessing to him," Chris Cranford, Toone Elementary School principal and basketball coach, said. "We just got new spirit shirts this year and on the back of it perfect fits Jo Jo. It says we will be known by the tracks we leave." 

Cranford, school teachers, friends, and family all took an opportunity to remember the smile and joy Jo Jo brought into the lives of those who knew him.

"To know Jo Jo was to love him," Cranford said. 

Cranford recalled a time when he was coaching the basketball team and the team was playing St. Mary's Catholic School in Jackson. Cranford said he didn't even look at the scoreboard because he was just concentrating on the team playing as well as they could.

However, when he finally saw the scoreboard he said they were down about 25-30 points. 

"He (Jo Jo) came up beside me and he said 'coach if you would have played me, we would have won,'" Cranford said. "That was Jo Jo, always trying to make other people feel better."

Cranford told those attending the funeral the team had done something special to remember Jo Jo. The team had blue wristbands made with his number on them. They will be wearing them throughout the rest of the season. Blue was chosen because it was Jo Jo's favorite color.

"Jo Jo's going to be on that court with us every game," Cranford said.

Jo Jo was often referred to during the service as their guardian angel. 

"He's our guardian angel," Antonio Scott, cousin, said.

However, the primary thing family and friends of Jo Jo's wanted to remember was his love of Jesus Christ. 

Loved ones said Jo Jo accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord two years ago during the summer. They said he was committed to his faith in Jesus and he believed every word of John 3:16. 

"That shows the true wisdom of Jo Jo," his former history teacher said. "If you have already accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then though we can be sad, we can also rejoice....If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord, what a testament that could be for Jo Jo for you to accept Christ."

"If you looked in the dictionary for the definition of the perfect kid, you would find Jo Jo," Scott said. "Get your rest little cuz."

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