Brendan Lawrence, 20, and his friend Christopher Clark, 22, were...

Brendan Lawrence, 20, and his friend Christopher Clark, 22, were gunned down on a Freeport street on the night of April 6, 2009. There have been no arrests in the case. Credit: Handout / Undated

On the sixth day of each month, Rhona Lawrence calls Nassau homicide detectives, hoping to hear that someone has revealed who killed her son and his close friend.

The Westbury mother also maintains a Facebook page and writes e-mails and blogs she says keep the memory of Brendan and his friend, Christopher Clark, alive.

"I feel like I'm living in limbo," Lawrence says. "I can't see myself staying years without finding out who did this. People need to talk."

Tuesday will be one year since Brendan, 20, and Chris, 22, were shot several times while visiting Freeport. There have been no arrests despite the efforts by Jeannie Fitzpatrick, the lead detective in the case, who combs daily through each detail of the night of the murders, hoping to find a new clue.

Both the police and the young men's parents think someone knows what happened but is not telling because of a "no snitching" mentality - a kind of street code that often keeps people from coming forward with information that can solve police mysteries.

 

'Need people to step up'

"We need people to step up," Det. Sgt. John DeMartinis of the Nassau County Police Department Homicide Squad, said last month. "We don't believe this is a random act. There are people who know what happened and why it happened." Police said the shooting does not appear to be gang- or drug-related.

The parents say they are doing everything they can to help.

Algernon Lawrence, Brendan's father, drives around with a Crime Stoppers flier with information about the double homicide taped to the back of his car window.

And Cynthia Linton, mother of Christopher Clark, says she relies on religion and spends most of her time praying that someone will come forward to talk and help the police.

Last April 6, residents on Jesse Street heard shots about 9 p.m. and called 911. Freeport Village police cruisers arrived on the scene within minutes. Outside a home, they found Chris collapsed onto hedges and Brendan near the sidewalk and lawn. Both were dead, police said.

Police say they know little about the men's last hours alive. Their relatives don't know why they drove to Freeport, though both had girlfriends who lived there. Both women say they have no idea why the friends were there that night.

Relatives of Brendan Lawrence said he last spoke to his mother around 6:30 p.m. and said he would be home later that night.

 

Last time seen alive

Linton said her son and Brendan spent most of the day at her Westbury home. Around 7 p.m., "Chris said he would be right back," Linton says. It was the last time family members saw them alive.

The police say that nothing in the victims' background has yielded clues as to what happened. Brendan and Chris both planned to enroll in Nassau Community College. Chris wanted to study accounting, while Brendan hoped to become a music producer.

Cynthia Linton is convinced that Chris and Brendan were set up and knew their killer. "Chris doesn't just travel to another town," she said. She hopes someone will break the "no snitching" code. "Why can't these people in the community take a stand?" she said.

For the two families, the pain has been almost unbearable. Dozens of sympathy cards line the Lawrence family's kitchen door. In the living room, two large white poster boards filled with photos of Brendan border the fireplace. His ashes, in a dark gold urn, sit nearby on a stone bench.

There, each morning, Algernon, with a cup of tea and tears, kneels and embraces what's left of his son.

"This is my shrine. This is where I talk to him," he says.

Rhona Lawrence keeps a large white candle burning near Brendan's ashes. She'll keep it lit, she says, until the case is solved.

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