Unknown Justin Sheppard Killer- Ontario- 2001 Jan 15, 2018 2:17:46 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Jan 15, 2018 2:17:46 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: insidetoronto.com via family handout)
By the time he reached Grade 8, Justin Sheppard was six-foot-three and considered one of the most promising basketball players in the province.
“We all had this dream to see him make it to the NBA,” Justin’s mom Audette Shephard said.
Justin's half-brother, 39-year-old Jamaal Magloire enjoyed a 12-year NBA career, including a final stint for the Toronto Raptors (where he still remains as a community ambassador) and an all-star game appearance in 2004.
“It was a dream, not only Justin’s dream or my dream, (but) the whole community’s dream to see those two brothers play together,” Shephard said in a recent interview.
But that dream was shattered at 1:10 a.m. June 23, 2001 when Justin, then 19, was fatally shot while on a footpath near Rosedale Valley Road and Bloor Street.
The case, homicide #19 for 2001, remains unsolved.
Justin, nicknamed Sheepdog, was born Feb. 21, 1982 and grew up in Don Mills and Mississauga.
“He was blessed with extraordinary athletic ability, and all through his life he was very strong,” Shephard said. “He ended up getting asthma when he was about two, but that did not impede his athleticism.”
Justin started playing basketball at age 11 when his mom signed him up for the Mississauga Monarchs house league. The next season he was placed on the rep team.
Justin attended Mississauga’s St. Francis Xavier Secondary School in Grade 9, but then transferred the following year to Toronto’s now-closed Eastern Commerce Collegiate, at the time a basketball powerhouse that half-brother Magloire had once starred for.
“He was very intense when it came to playing ball,” said Shephard. “He hated to lose, so he would put everything he had into his game.”
Justin and his mom also moved to 545 Sherbourne St. in downtown Toronto’s St. James Town neighbourhood so that he could be closer to school.
“I knew all his friends in Mississauga and … when we moved downtown sometimes I’d question (Justin on his new friends) and (Justin) would say ‘Mom, that’s my boy’ because he’s thinking that everybody means well,” Shephard said. “These friends were different, just a mother’s instinct. … And it turned out that the same two people that I questioned him about were with him when he was murdered.”
Shephard believes the two men may hold the key to solving the case.
“I tried to get them to call the detective and they just won’t,” she said.
Police posted a $50,000 reward (which Magloire doubled) for information leading to the killer or killers. Both rewards, though, have since expired.
But Shephard remains hopeful that with the passage of time someone will come forward with fresh leads for police.
Justin had just finished high school and was looking forward to going to Maryland on a basketball scholarship when he was killed.
It was a Friday night, and Justin returned home from a basketball game and took a shower.
He then went out for a while and came back home with a young woman who was going to do his hair.
“He had a phone call. I didn’t listen to the conversation,” Shephard said. “Then he said, ‘I’ll be back in 10 minutes, OK mom?’ I said OK, and he left the girl at my house.”
That would be Shephard’s last conversation with her son.
When Justin didn’t come home, Shephard began calling friends and driving around looking for him.
The next morning, police came by Shephard’s home to inform her that her son had been murdered.
“That was the worst. I just didn’t know what to do,” she said. “(Justin’s) dad came, and then his friends started coming; the media was camped outside. It was just awful.”
After Justin’s murder, Shephard said, she thought about hiring a private investigator and even tried to solve the case herself. “I walked around that neighbourhood and spoke to so many people,” she said. “Then it got to a point (where) it sort of added to my bitterness.”
In August 2001, Shephard was among a group of mothers of murder victims who founded UMOVE (United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere), a nonprofit organization committed to saving youth from violence and supporting families of homicide victims.
She now also visits inmates at the Toronto East Detention Centre.
“Out of much sorrow came much resolve,” said Shephard, who has lived in Scarborough since 2003. “When I start getting bitter and I start getting angry, … it sucks the life out of me, so I want to turn what was meant for bad into something good.”
What’s Justin’s legacy?
Most remember him as a great ballplayer.
“But truly for me, (he) was my heartbeat,” Shephard said. “And his legacy for me was being that son, that best thing that ever happened in my life.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide squad at 416-808-7400 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
Thoughts? I notice they spelled Justin's mother's last name differently but according to the Toronto Police website it is Sheppard so perhaps his mother's last name in the article is a type-o (or a coincidental maiden name): www.torontopolice.on.ca/homicide/case/19/2001
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