MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The mother of Robert Howard, the man who police say was kidnapped and murdered by an officer, is still trying to make sense of everything that happened.
Investigators say Martha Garth’s 30-year-old son, Howard, was kidnapped and murdered by a Memphis police officer.
Investigators say that officer, Patric Ferguson, confessed to committing the crimes while on duty. Ferguson has been relieved of duty, according to MPD.
Ferguson now faces several charges, including first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.
Garth says Howard was a loving and caring man.
He grew up in Osceola, Arkansas and had small-town charm.
“He stayed to himself a lot. That’s the way he liked to be. He didn’t like drama,” said Garth.
She struggles to understand why anyone would want to hurt her son, much less someone wearing a badge.
Memphis police say Ferguson, armed with his own weapon, kidnapped Howard outside a Frayser residence and forced him into the back of a police car.
They say he then drove a short distance to Frayser Blvd. and Denver Street, where he shot and killed Howard.
“It was my child. It was not no reason for him to mess with my child like that,” Garth said.
Police have not provided a motive, but Garth says her son and his girlfriend had broken up.
During that breakup, she says the girlfriend started to see Ferguson.
She says she learned her son and his girlfriend had decided to get back together and believes Ferguson didn’t like that and wanted her son out of the way.
“[Ferguson] plotted this to take my son’s life once [he] found out he was back in town and she wanted him back over there,” said Garth. “But what gave [him] the right?”
Memphis Police Association President Essica Cage said Ferguson looked like an “ideal” candidate to be a police officer.
But Garth says her son’s death shows Memphis police need to dig deeper into the backgrounds of those applying for a gun and a badge.
“You’ve got police officers taking their rank and that badge for a joke. It’s not no joke. You took an oath to protect and you’re not,” said Garth. “Show us that we can trust y’all.”
Garth says her son leaves behind three young children.
The family has also started a GoFundMe Account to help pay for funeral expenses.