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Facebook offers insight into 12-year-old murder suspect's lifestyle

Posted: August 1, 2014 - 6:42pm  |  Updated: August 2, 2014 - 11:54am
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Townsend
Townsend

A Facebook page believed to be that of a Jacksonville 12-year-old charged with murder in the death of a homeless man is riddled with profanity, laced with pornography and portrays an adolescent life of defiance and recklessness.

With it, there are moments of hard decision-making for Tommy Townsend, the name linked to the social media page.

“Turning myself in tomorrow,” Townsend wrote July 12 on the page that appears to belong to Sharron Sherman Townsend, whose arrest report lists aliases “Tommie Townsend” and “Ronnie.”

The post three weeks ago drew baffled reactions.

“Huh?” one responder questions.

“I.got 2,” comes Townsend’s nearly immediate response.

Townsend wasn’t charged with murder in the shooting death of Thomas Zona Trent until 12 days after the post, and on the social media site he never openly answered the string of questions about what he’d done or where he was planning to turn himself in.

But surrounding the post, in the months before and days since, Townsend and his circle of friends posted rest-in-peace messages connected to the homicides of young men in Jacksonville. They also run a steady stream of references to sex, drugs and guns in often clipped grammar.

“Not a day goes by i dnt think bout u u was like my big brother I loved you so much,” Townsend wrote in part in reference to a 17-year-old shot and killed April 14.

A friend of Townsend’s posted a similar message, with photos of the 17-year-old, an 18-year-old killed in June and a 16-year-old shot to death in July.

In a December selfie photo on Townsend’s page, a young man in what looks like a classroom claims to be high at school and points a profane gesture toward the camera.

Stylized photos of young men smoking and others of girls in flirtatious poses run through the site. A video clip of girls fighting and another that appears to be youngsters smoking hand-rolled cigarettes are also loaded there.

More recently, Townsend lamented what appeared to be the jailing of a friend.

On Monday he wrote he woke up thinking about him.

“I had a dream that he can to my house on thanksgiving nd wanted to eat nd smoke nd we did den I got mad wen he sed he had to turn his self back in,” the post said.

On Wednesday, Townsend was planning on getting three tattoos, on Friday, five more.

Instead he was arrested Thursday in the death of Trent, a disabled 54-year-old whose body was found by a strip mall at 103rd Street and Ricker Road.

Trent had been shot once in the head with a .22-caliber handgun. Thursday, police said they had not found the murder weapon.

Assistant Chief Chris Butler of the Sheriff’s Office said he didn’t have a motive for the shooting but that police had interviewed Townsend’s incarcerated friend — whose name matched the person in the dream — and were led to the 12-year-old.

Butler said Townsend confirmed his involvement.

Townsend was identified by people in the neighborhood around the strip center where Trent’s body was found. Surveillance clips show two young men at the plaza around 2:30 a.m. the day Trent was killed. They are seen a second time running with shirts disguising their looks.

In part of the clip, one of the pair wore a teal Hollister shirt that resembles one in photos on Townsend’s page.

When Townsend was arrested, his home address was 13 miles from the strip mall at a house on Portsmouth Avenue in the Sherwood Forest area of Jacksonville. The family had lived there only two or three months, neighbors said.

No one was home when a reporter went there Thursday, but a black sport-utility vehicle was there Friday when the reporter returned. No one responded to a knock on the door. When the reporter left then returned minutes later, the SUV was gone.

Attempts to reach Townsend family members using social media links were also unsuccessful Friday. Some were in Camden, N.J., where police said Sharron Townsend was born and where the Facebook Townsend said he had his roots.

 

Dana Treen: (904) 359-4091

Comments (11)

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mad
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mad 08/02/14 - 06:10 pm
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mad
241
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mad 08/02/14 - 06:18 pm
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There are plenty of 12 year

There are plenty of 12 year old white kids out there with public FB that are also shocking. Where are there parents. A 14 year old was killed a couple weeks ago cause he was joyriding with older teenagers at 4 am in a upper class hood. The lesson his parents wanted kids to learn was to wear your seat belts. Really? This isnt a black problem. Its cause parents want to be there kids friends. You can confront them or look the other way.

olgator
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olgator 08/02/14 - 05:48 pm
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Lots of disturbing things to

Lots of disturbing things to go around here. The crime is disturbing. Sounds much like similar crime involving white teens who would beat up south florida bums even set them on fire for no reason.

Littlebrain-your consistent racist stereotype is equally disturbing. Frequently the same lack of parental intelligence that creates so called "ghetto trash" is prevalent in households that create people with blind hatred for people who are different.

jaxtoday
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jaxtoday 08/02/14 - 04:09 pm
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This murderer, although the

This murderer, although the same age, is different than the now-infamous 12 yr old who killed his little brother and Angela Corey tried to prosecute as an adult. The things uncovered in this article and the investigation of this murder are incredibly disturbing. How and why was this killer so close to so many older young men who were killed or kill others? How did he get tattoos, weapons, a cell phone, etc, without the assistance of one or more adults who HAD to know that he was leading the kind of life he was (because he obviously didn't hide it)? This criminal deserves the justice any other cold-blooded murderer does - but every adult and older teen that contributed to the grooming and lifestyle of this boy should be prosecuted and put away as well. Can't wait to hear the "human interest" side of this story that the media is so famous for - but no amount of poverty, boredom, or anything else that people so readily like to blame for shaping the lives of criminals - could possibly mitigate this kind of "thrill kill" by a young man that seems to have been brought up to do just what he did.

no avail
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no avail 08/02/14 - 02:23 pm
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Funny how a lot of left

Funny how a lot of left center thinkers, *expect* this type of behavior from this culture, and in their heart of hearts they don't even believe they are capable of being held accountable, much less function as productive humans.

To me that kind of patronizing, look the other way, no expectations thinking is as racist as some anonymous jack leg spewing fodder from a computer.

It seems like this is one of the biggest problems this country faces. Most every knows this, it's just not talked about. Openly, anyway. And short of good old fashioned accountability, and maybe some population control, in the form of financial penalties and work camps for people having children they can't support, there is no fix. There would pretty much be riots if the baby mammas and thug daddies had to go to work. Basically there really is no fix.

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