The level of brutality in this country seems ever on the rise, even with awareness campaigns, such as “It Gets Better” and a barrage of anti-bullying programs now being provided, there are still people beaten unconscious at baseball games for being on the wrong side of the stadium, and worse conduct by parents at many T-ball tournaments than any child could conceive. A tragic crime Sunday in Thibodaux, Louisiana defies almost every notion of viciousness that the mind can conceive, as a child’s worst enemy slept in the bed down the hall, and tucked him in at night.
Police now believe that the murderer, 30-year-old Jeremiah Wright, is the biological father of seven-year-old Jori Lirette, who was found decapitated outside his home in the 400 block of West 7th Street in the quiet community. The murder makes the first for Thibodaux since 2008, and even police find the crime almost incomprehensible. “When I got there, it was something to be upset about,” said Capt. Calvin Cooks, “It struck a nerve.” Jori was wheelchair-bound by cerebral palsy, and “loved his father more than anything” according to the boy’s mother, Jesslyn Lirette, who kissed her son goodbye before going to get her truck repaired so it would be ready to get Jori to an ear doctor appointment Tuesday in New Orleans. She was reportedly so distraught upon learning the news that she had to be hospitalized, but police will be questioning her and other family members soon. She had been with Wright for 10 years, but now calls him “the devil” who took her “angel” because, “I didn’t get out fast enough,” she claims. Wright confessed to the crime, according to police. Jori’s head was spotted by a passerby on the curbside, which prompted the police call. The boys dismembered body parts were found in a nearby garbage bag. That Jori had lived at all was miraculous. Arriving three months early at only 14 ounces, he stayed a full year at Oschner Hospital in New Orleans. Though he struggled with motor function and language, Jori had his ways of communicating, though, by pulling on someone’s arm, or banging a cabinet, according to friends. The kitchen sink, where Wright supposedly chopped and dismembered his son’s body, was confiscated by police and sent to the lab.
The parents had been entwined in an escalating level of violence, lately, as evidenced by a domestic disturbance call to the home a month ago, but no one was arrested because nothing got physical between the two at the time. Some acquaintances describe Wright as “Instable,” while others say that mom Jesslyn frequently left her son in Wright’s care, even when she wasn’t working, expecting the unemployed Wright to “do everything.” Wright is being held at the Lafourche Parish jail on a $5 million bond. Both parents will likely state their cases ad infinitum, but one thing is certain, no child, and particularly, no already challenged child, deserves this. This author can attest to the ravages of a violent home, and the scars that remain after the screams and flying dishes have ceased, but also to the commitment of a mother who refused to leave, and refused to harm, her daughter with cerebral palsy, even in non-lucid moments. Being born disabled is a life sentence of being invisible, invalid and unwhole in the eyes of most, but not all. Every life deserves its place, its value, its vision, and its own purposed mission. Jori Lirette will never get to finish his second grade, never live to fulfill what his life could have meant. That is the most unforgivable trespass.