New Orleans: Ja'Shawn's Grieving Mom Shares Memories, Regrets
He loved to watch "The Doodlebops" and football on television. When his mother cleaned, he would follow her, trying to help with the brooms and the dustpan. Often, Ja'Shawn - a smiling, happy child - would open his arms wide and say, "Mommy, I love you this much." Then he'd kiss her on the jaw.
He was especially excited about the five pairs of boxer shorts that she had just bought for him on Wednesday. Ja'Shawn wanted to show his father that he was a big boy, she said, so on Friday afternoon he put on all five pairs. She took off all but one, then dressed him in a special outfit, because his father, Danny Platt, had promised to pick him up that evening after work.
Coroner Frank Minyard said the toddler's throat had been cut, and he bled to death. On Saturday, Chief Coroner's Investigator John Gagliano kept the bag holding Ja'Shawn's body close to him, placing it gently on the back seat of his car for the trip from the crime scene to the morgue.
Platt became liable for child support not because Powell had pursued the issue, she said, but because she had applied for food stamps, which requires applicants to identify noncustodial parents, and for government health insurance, which in some cases also requires that information from applicants. Powell said she especially needed Medicaid for her son because he suffered from frequent respiratory ailments.
On Friday about 8:30 p.m., Ja'Shawn woke up from a nap, thrilled that Platt was outside, Powell said. "He said, 'Oh, my daddy's here,' and he ran to the door saying, 'Daddy, daddy, daddy.' He was so happy," Powell said. Her eyes filled with tears. "I never knew that it would be the last time I'd see him."
The Ja'Shawn J. Powell Memorial Fund has been opened with Liberty Bank to help offset funeral expenses. People interested in making a donation can make a deposit in person, or mail your donation to Liberty Bank P.O. Box 60131, New Orleans, La 70160.
The Ja'Shawn Powell Human Decency Association has been formed by the community, dedicated to reviving respect and decency in New Orleans.
Previous NP coverage: Father Admits to Killing Son over Child Support