Almost eight years later, family members of one of the victims of the City of Newburgh’s 2013 triple homicide case are still pleading for the community to come forward and for their loved one to have justice.
May 1, 2013 three individuals, Pamela Jenkins, Travis Blue and John Lewis, were found dead after gunfire was reported at 98 South William Street.
Nephew of Lewis, Gaylord Geter, expressed his disappointment with almost nothing happening with this case since then. Two days after the arrest, one of Jenkins’ next door neighbors, Antae Reese, was arrested on a minor drug possession charge but had a bail of $100,000. However, there were no charges filed against him.
Geter recalled his finding out of his uncle’s death in 2013.
“There were rumors that my uncle was killed in a triple homicide the night before,” said Geter. “I got a phone call from a friend of mine, so I rushed home from work to go to the City of Newburgh Police Station only to find my immediate family down there.”
They asked them questions about Lewis’ last whereabouts, when they last saw him and other questions of that nature. From there, “it’s been a lot of stress.”
He said members from the City of Newburgh Police Department have visited his family to try and keep them updated on the case.
“We’ve been getting the runaround for years about what’s going on,” said Geter. “I talked to Torrance Harvey when he got into office and he said he’d follow up and since then I haven’t heard anything about it. The police did come to my aunt’s house two years ago and same thing that they’ve been feeding our heads.”
They informed them that the case went to Albany and they were feeling more confident. However, it gave Geter and his family a false sense of hope as they hadn’t heard anything following that.
“I contacted the City of Newburgh police department in November to see if they had any information because there was a rumor going around about it that they might have caught someone,” said Geter. “There was nothing still.”
Geter said his uncle was loved by the entire community. He had one child. The day of his passing, the community came together and held a special memorial block party. Immediately, they asked the public to come forward if they had any information. Two years later, they made the same request.
“It’s like his death has been brushed under the rug,” said Geter. “No one has contacted us and every time we try to speak out to the police station, they don’t have any information.”
He said he feels as though they’ve gotten “literally nowhere” with the case.
“Newburgh is only but so big,” said Geter. “Someone has to hear something. I’m so confused why we’re still in the same position as the day he was killed.”
Geter is asking whoever knows any information to come forward. He believes that someone in the community must know but isn’t speaking up.
City of Newburgh Detective Sergeant Joseph Rutigliano said he too feels as though the only reason this has not been solved is from lack of cooperation from the community.
“We’ve been working with the state police major crimes and the Orange County District Attorney’s office since 2013 on this,” said Rutigliano. “The reason it hasn’t been solved, quite frankly, is because of lack of cooperation from witnesses and people in the community we believe have information and have yet to come forward.”
He said over the last seven years they have continued to come up with new leads, revisit old leads, reinterview witnesses and talk to family members.
“We never stop working an open murder investigation,” said Rutigliano.
Getting community members to come forward has been difficult.
“How do you incentivize to testify in open court in an urban community where there is a lot of hostility between the police and the community,” asked Rutigliano.
He said in the beginning of the case they used New York Police Department Crime Stoppers, which specifically helps solve violent crimes.
“I’m hurt, angry and frustrated,” said Geter. “I don’t want my uncle to think we forgot about them. I don’t know where we are going to go from here.”