Justice remembered

Two benches and a tree dedicated to teen who died trying to stop a robbery

Adriana Ferrigno’s life hasn’t been the same since June 12, 2010.

That’s the night she lost what she says was everything she needed and everything she loved. Her son, 16-year-old Justice Ferrigno was stabbed to death on Hilton Avenue, near Bathurst Street and St. Clair Avenue West. As previously reported in the Town Crier, friends of Justice said he was intervening in a robbery attempt of other kids when he was stabbed.

Last month, a memorial was held for Justice, with two benches and a tree being placed in Wells Hill Park in his memory, just up the street from where he was killed. The day would have marked his 18th birthday.

“It’s a bittersweet situation,” Adriana said of the turnout for the ceremony. “Seeing the kids’ and families’ faces — a few of the kids broke down and started crying like they were little babies.”

Ward 21 councillor Joe Mihevc, St. Paul’s MPP Eric Hoskins and MP Carolyn Bennett, the priest who baptized Justice, as well as Justice’s grandmother, Letecia Ferrigno, spoke to the crowd, before releasing doves in Justice’s memory.

“I only plead for justice for Justice and for all those mothers who are going through the horrendous pain caused by the loss of a son,” read part of Letecia’s speech. “That is why I raise my voice on behalf of those mothers and families to clamor for justice.”

The family then released 12 doves for other families who have experienced similar tragedy.

“For me it means a lot, there are no words to express it,” Letecia said fighting back tears, while visiting the memorial in late October. “He was like any other child, not perfect, but he was special. He was my life.”

Many of the family and friends of Justice have been frustrated by the fact his alleged killer, Jonathan Cioppa, has been out on bail while awaiting the trial. For Adriana, it has completely changed her life, as Cioppa and his family live just a few streets over from her, she says.

“We use the same grocery store, same pharmacy, same everything. My hair dresser is right down the street but I haven’t gone in a while because of (Cioppa),” she said. “I basically have to be jailed in my house.”

Though her tears come and go, Adriana perks up recalling how there were things she never knew about Justice until after he was killed. She said she used to give Justice money almost every day to buy lunch, but he would often call her and ask for more, and she never knew why.

But she found out when some single mothers with addiction issues came to the funeral home and said Justice had been buying them breakfast a few times every week, since he was 15.

Adriana added that Justice had a lot of friends who he would bring to her house so they could eat as well, because some of them came from parentless households.

“Justice always helped them,” she said, again becoming emotional. “It hurts a lot.”

Cioppa is due back in court Nov. 17, where he faces a second-degree murder charge.

Read excerpts of Letecia Ferrigno’s speech here.

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Nov 11 2011 5:42 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto