Imani Jennings
March 3, 2007 - November 21, 2008
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Anthony Weakfall Jr., who was only 15 years old, was dating Cherron Patterson, who was 18 years old. Cherron had a daughter, a beautiful little girl named Imani, who was 20 months old. For weeks, Imani suffered horrible abuse at the hands of Cherron and Anthony. Weeks was all it took because one morn

Imani had been attending day care at the home of DIane Shakir. When Diane began to notice bruises on Imani, she took pictures and questions Cherron about it. Imani was immediately taken out of that day care and Cherron and Anthony began to leave her home alone while they went to school during the day. Imani was left home alone at the age of 20 months with a glass of milk and a bowl of chicken nuggets, for at least eight hours a day.

On the morning of November 21, 2008, Imani had an accident on the floor and Anthony decided to teach her a lesson. Using a metal rod, a wire cable, a metal bed spring and his fists, Anthony beat Imani over and over. When Anthony decided that she head learned a lesson, he left her on the floor, bloody, crying, in pain and alone not bothering to try to hide what he'd done, he left and went to school. It would later be revealed that Cherron had also beat her daughter, in the past, for having accidents.

When Cherron returned home later that day, from school, she found Imani on the floor, covered in blood and not responding to her. Imani had a swollen face to the point where she was unrecognizable, her eyes were swollen shut and she had bruises all over her, from the waist up. Cherron called 911 from a neighbors house and when paramedics arrived, they found Imani dead.

Pictures show a happy family and neighbors say that there was not sign that anything was going on in the home, no sign of abuse, that there were times they were all outside playing together and it seemed that Anthony was a good father to Imani. Unfortunately, even with a day care provider who KNEW that this Angel was being abused, there were no previous calls to Police or the Department Of Social Services concerning Imani. Lee Jennings, who is Imani's biological father said:

"Why? That's the only question I kept asking myself, why would somebody do something like that?
What did she ever do to anybody"

Lee had dated Cherron for only a year and when the relationship was over, he had tried to get custody of his daughter. Cherron would not even allow him to see her. Cherron was seven months pregnant with Anthony's child at the time he killed Imani.

Anthony was arrested and charged with second degree murder and was held without bail. Anthony was held at the Hillbrook Juvenile Detention Center, but would be charged as a an adult in court. Cherron was arrested and charged with assault and endangering the welfare of a child and was given a $50,000. cash bond.

Cherron plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide and  cried in court when she was sentenced to a SICKENING sentence of 1 1/3 years in prison for what happened to Imani. Cherron had said that she wants to make sure that Anthony paid for what he did to Imani:

"I don't blame anybody but myself for letting this happen. I should have stopped this, but I didn't. I should
have gotten her out of this sooner, but I didn't"

, Cherron, are just as guilty as he is. You allowed him to beat your 20 month old child for NOT being potty trained. YOU beat your child for not being potty trained. You both left this beautiful little Angel alone all day to go to school, 20 month old children are not supposed to be left alone to raise themselves.

First Chief Assistant District Attorney Rick Trunfio as well as Defense Lawyer Christina Cagnina said that Cherron had been abused and neglected as a child, but that was no excuse for what she did to Imani:

"Every creature in the animal kingdom has the maternal instinct to protect a child"
Rick Trunfio

I often wonder if these people realize how ridiculous their statements sound. The above is certainly not true of human beings or so many children would NOT be abused to death every year.

In November of 2009, Anthony Weakfall Jr. was sentenced to 13 years to life after pleading guilty in October to murdering Imani. Judge Joseph Fahey said that what happened to Imani was one of the sickest, cruelest and most sadistic acts he had ever heard of. Rick Trunfio said that when he had arrived at their home, the walls were splattered with blood:

"It will be forever etched in my mind, her Angelic body lying there on the couch. She could have been
asleep. She suffered torture no human being should have to endure"

Rick said that Anthony should have to serve every day, every hour and every second of his sentence. Judge Fahey said that in his experience, a person who commits this kind of a crime, will do it again and that the parole board should, in the future, consider how brutal this case was before they decide to release Anthony.

Of course Anthony's Lawyer, Eric Jeschke said that Anthony had been abused as a child and his mother had died adding that he had also lost his father to Cancer. I can't say it enough, if someone is abused as a child, they KNOW how that feels, why would they do that someone else? Why do these lawyers always try to get sympathy for their clients by bringing up that they were abused? Anthony beat a child, to death and walked away from her as though nothing had happened, went about his day as though he had done nothing wrong. Anthony should NEVER get out of prison after what he did.

Eric said that Anthony was pushed into a world where he had to take care of a 20 month old child while he was trying to finish school and that he had no family to help him. Anthony didn't HAVE to take care of this child, he could have said no and BOTH of these adults could have gone to get help in any number of places. These monsters made a choice to abuse this child and he made the choice to kill her. Eric said that Anthony is sorry for what he did and that by pleading guilty, he was taking responsibility for what he did and that if Anthony is ever paroled, he could become a productive member of society. In my opinion, Eric is wrong!

Diane Shakir, who was 48 years old at the time, was found guilty, in August, of failing to report the abuse she knew was taking place. For her part in the death of Imani, she received a sentence of 50 hours of community service and she lost her day care license.

In March of 2009, Cherron gave birth to a baby girl which was taken away from her and placed in a foster home by the Department Of Social Services. Cherron named this baby Myriame Israel and wanted her grandmother to take custody of her. LUCKILY, the DOSS wouldn't allow that since her grandmother had a history of child abuse that went back to the year 1987. Cherron's mother, Amy Patterson said she was unable to take the baby because she was expecting her eighth child. It seems to me that if Cherron was abused by her mother, then her mother has NO business having any children in her care. Apparently, I am the only one who sees it that way. We can only hope that Cherron never gets a chance to raise that or any other child, again.


Imani Jennings, 1 1/2, of Syracuse, passed away Friday at her home.

Surviving are her father, Lee Jennings of Syracuse; her mother, Cherron Patterson of Syracuse; paternal grandparents, Rhonda (Sean) Wright-Jamison and Lee Otis Jennings Sr., both of Syracuse; maternal grandparents, Antwaun Taylor and Amy Patterson, both of Syracuse; paternal great-grandmother, Lillie P. Jennings; maternal great-grand-mother, Betty Lawrence; maternal great-great-grand-mother, LeeAnna Chipps, Frances Chatman Hall; great-grandparents, Senora Thomas, Jesse Thomas, James Taylor, and Marlee Taylor; two special aunts, Liyana Jennings and Leah Thomas; special uncle, Jabril Patterson; and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Calling Hour: Wednesday 11 a.m. to noon, with funeral services to follow at TUCKER MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH, 515 Oakwood Ave. Burial in Oakwood Cemetery. Farone & Son Funeral Home.

Shamerra Tillman, Cimon Billue and Wendy Williams, Imani's family, watched and cried as her casket was carried out of the Tucker Missionary Baptist Church after her funeral service. Reverend Leslie Johnson and the funeral director, Joseph Farone, helped in taking Imani to her final resting place.

The service lasted 40 minutes, with songs, scripture readings, prayers and words of comfort from the pastors. With 340 people attending, none of them spoke as they had been asked to comfort and share with the family during the coming months as they would need help in understanding what had happened.

Reverend Leslie Johnson said that Imani's death was like a storm, showing up without warning that instead of just uprooting trees, shakes the very foundation of our lives:

"This storm comes blowing in on November 21 when Imani's bludgeaon, broken body was
discovered. Imani is dead, killed not in the prime of her life, but before she was able to
understand what life was all about. Living through a life storm, we must also know that we will
sustain hurt. It is the pain that ultimately develops us into who we are. Yet, while in the midst
of this pain, we can still thank God for sustaining us, for keeping us"

Later, it was reported that while Cherron had been receiving assistance for housing, food and health care, there was no caseworker assigned to keep watch over her or her daughter because there had been no reports of abuse and the programs she was enrolled in, were all voluntary. Parenting classes were available though Cherron and Anthony did not participate in them. The community of Syracuse was questioning how it could be that a child could be beaten to death:

"When we have a tragedy like we have, the community has to stop and take a step back and say,
"What can we do more or different and better to make kids more safe in this community"
Frank Lazarski - President of the United Way

United Way would be trying to figure out new plans to ensure that teen parents get the help they need. Well, Frank, one thing that can be done is to make anyone who is getting assistance from the state, take parenting and any other class available to them in order to ensure that the family is stable and the children are safe. Make the parents bring the children in for welfare checks, visit the homes and make sure they are using the funds they get for the purposes they are intended for.

While it is true that some family members as well as the day care worker knew what was going on, it's a proven fact that children are not able to rely on adults to the right things, like reporting child abuse. Children need protection and if state agencies are not going to check on them and no one is going to report the abuse they suffer, that is just wrong!

This page was created on May 11, 2013
Death Occurred in the state of New York

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