Anniston church hosts vigil for young boy killed in July - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Anniston church hosts vigil for young boy killed in July

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Memorial between Caver's house and Victory Headquarters Christian Center Memorial between Caver's house and Victory Headquarters Christian Center
ANNISTON - AL -

The father of the five-year-old boy killed in Anniston last month said a vigil Friday evening in memory of his son means the world to him.  Robert Fuller came from Mobile to Victory Headquarters Christian Center for the service honoring his son, Gregory "Man-Man" Caver.

"It just touches me, You just don't know how much it tells me," Fuller told the congregation of the Little Gregory's church.  "He will not die in vain, and I just appreciate y'all. Y'all just don't understand how much I love y'all and love seeing this. It was a lot, and I'm just thankful."

The young boy moved with his mother and sisters six months ago into the house next door to the church, and regularly attended services until his death July 26.

Caver's mother, India Kimble, and her boyfriend, Vonta McClellan, face capital murder charges in connection with the boy's death. Investigators said McClellan beat the boy with a belt over an extended period of time for wetting his pants.  The district attorney said Kimble verbally abused the child during the beating and did nothing to stop it.

After Fuller spoke, Claudette Kimble stood and hugged him for about 20 seconds.  She is India's mother, and broke down in tears as she talked about what happened to her grandson.

"I don't know what to say, but I thank everybody here.  I wish somebody had called me.  I wish somebody had heard it.  I wish somebody had walked by and saw this," Kimble said.

"I wish somebody had seen something and let me know what was going on.  I'm so sorry for Man-Man.  I'm so sorry Robert.  The only thing I can say is Robert, I'm with you, all the way," she said.

"I know Jesus got this, and I know Jesus is going to fix this.  I've listened to the mayor, I've listened to everybody up there, and if they don't do something, I'm going to keep coming up there.  I'm going to get on their nerves.  I'm going to bug them.  They've got to do something, and we've got to stop this."

Kimble was the last of about a dozen speakers at the "Rally for a Change", which the church hosted with the purpose of stopping child abuse and domestic violence.  Paper programs and a large projection screen stated "Children have the Right to be Safe," along with a picture of little Gregory.

More than 150 people packed the small church and speakers included Mayor Vaughn Stewart, city council members, law enforcement officers, social workers, and educators.

"I am so sorry.  We're a better city than this," Mayor Stewart said to more than a dozen of little Gregory's family members who traveled several hours to attend the service.

"When part of you hurts, it hurts the whole community.  We must come together.  We must be preventive.  We must join in.  It's a village," the mayor said.

"Let's not let little Gregory die in vain.  Let's make his life count. Let's pledge to ourselves that this will not happen again. Let's go from here tonight knowing that we're better than this.  We are better than this, and we will prove we are better than this," he said.

The mayor said when he meets Monday with other Calhoun County mayors, he will ask that there be similar rallies against child abuse and domestic violence in every community in the county.

Many of the speakers talked about how the community can help.  Anniston Police Captain Allen George said it simply boils down to being extra attentive to children and watching for signs of abuse.  George said that people may think it is not their business, but he said it is everyone's business to make sure no child dies from abuse.  He encourages people to make anonymous tips if they suspect anything is wrong.

Caver would have started kindergarten this fall, and Anniston Board of Education president Donna Ross said she is saddened that she will not get to meet him either during the first week of school or at the kindergarten graduation.  She said she always tells the graduates their whole lives are ahead of them and to make each and every day count.

"His life counts.  Every single day counted and we have to make sure that none of us go home and forget.  We have to remember.  We have to be the example," Ross said.

She also advice for several dozen children in attendance at the service as well.

"If you see something that is wrong, tell.  When your parent or your teacher or somebody that's an adult does not listen, then tell someone else.  And then if they don't listen, tell someone else, until someone listens," Ross said.

Although he was still young, little Gregory already knew what he wanted to be when he grew up.  He loved that his preacher, Charles Gregory, shared his name, and he told people he too wanted to be a pastor someday.

"In a day when little kids want to be famous football players and movie stars, the fact that he would say he wanted to preach the gospel, says something to me," pastor Gregory said.

"And he's preaching right now!  He's preaching!  He's preaching!," the pastor shouted with excitement as he finished his message.

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