St. Petersburg, Florida - "My gut feeling... it's just sad."
Doug Bolden mourns lives lost: his young cousin Shannon Griffin murdered and the three accused -- lives wasted as well.
"It's a terrible tragedy and I wish it on nobody," says Bolden from the apartment he shared with Griffin.
Griffin moved from Mississippi to St. Pete to get a fresh start. Bolden says Hurricane Katrina had left the teen shell-shocked.
"He wasn't going outside, he wasn't socializing."
And in St. Pete, Griffin did begin to thrive. He earned his GED and a paycheck from Walmart. The maintenance work position was his first real job and he'd stuck with it for a full year. This week, Griffin should have been enjoying his first paid vacation.
"So this kid is living on cloud nine," says Bolden. "He went from a poverty area to an area of opportunity and right now I'm sitting here with you, because somebody snuffed his life out."
Last Saturday, Bolden says his cousin was excited about going out. "He wanted to meet a girl, go out on a date. Turns out it was the wrong one."
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Griffin and Jennifer Mee met on a social website and police say Mee then lured Griffin to a vacant house, where her two friends were waiting. Griffin was robbed and shot to death.
As Bolden holds back tears he says, "These people were predators, straight predators."
But the pain of Bolden's loss has not turned to anger or thoughts of vengeance. The 23rd Psalm is guiding him through this dark valley and he calls on parents to guide their own children.
Bolden says with a sigh, "You look at all the construction going on, but we're not building lives; we're not building futures."
Kathryn Bursch, 10 News