Parents in New York as police continue the hunt for son’s killer
THE parents of a football coach killed in America said “forgiveness is off the agenda” as police continue to hunt their son’s killer.
Speaking from New York – where the family will today meet police investigating the stabbing of Mike Jones – dad Perry said he was desperate for justice.
His comments come as family and friends of the 25-year-old prepared to take part in a series of tributes to the mark the first anniversary of his death.
Mike, from Tarleton, near Southport, was killed in a street attack as he walked to his girlfriend’s home after a night out on October 7 last year.
The Edge Hill graduate was stabbed six times and had his ear cut off near Manhattan’s Union Square in a case of what New York Police Department (NYPD) believe was mistaken identity.
Perry, mum Carole and Mike’s younger brother, Philip, flew to New York last week to take part in a series of tributes to the popular Reds fan, who was a junior football coach for New York Red Bulls.
Perry said that the past 12 months had been “devastating”, with the image of his son dying alone one of the hardest things to cope with.
He said: “Our lives have been shattered. Slowly, we try to move on as best we can.
“We have to learn to live with the heartache and the incessant thought of the harm that was done to him, the pain he must have suffered and the fear he must have felt while bleeding to death alone on a New York pavement.
“The thought that we weren't there to help him and the total, senseless waste of his life.”
Police investigated the possibility the killer – described as Hispanic and aged 25 to 30 years old – mistook Michael for a man who had been with a woman the suspect met in a bar.
Orlando Orea, a Mexican also known as Orlando Gutierrez, was named as the main suspect but, despite putting him on a no-fly list, police were unable to prevent the 32-year-old leaving the country on a flight bound for Mexico.
Perry said: “It makes us feel frustrated and sick to the stomach. Not only for ourselves but for other people also. [The killer] is free to walk the streets and who knows who will be his next innocent victim? This isn't about forgiveness, it's about justice and punishment, ‘Justice For Jonesy’ – a football mad, crazy fool, with a soft heart that never did anybody any harm.
“He was a lover, not a fighter, forgiveness is not on the agenda.”
The family are to meet New York’s District Attorney and the lead detective on the investigation, which a spokesman for the NYPD said “is still ongoing”. It will be a rare opportunity for them to question those handling the case – though they receive regular updates from friends in the city.
Perry said: “Obviously, as we live thousands of miles away, it's not possible for us to meet with the authorities on a regular basis.
“Michael has very good friends in New York and they meet regularly with the lead detective and the assistant District Attorney on our behalf and everything that is said at those meetings is reported back to us. We will be meeting with the authorities on this visit to New York.”
Mike’s parents said his death was constantly at the forefront of their minds.
Perry added: “There isn't a day goes by that we don't think about the investigation, although we have to stifle our feelings of despair and anguish as there is nothing we can do to influence the proceedings.”