Family wants community to forgive triple murder suspects

Family wants community to forgive triple murder suspects

UPATOI, GA (WTVM) - A Columbus family learned Tuesday evening the person arrested for murdering three of their loved ones was someone they knew. 

Gloria Short, 54, Caleb Short, 17, and Gianna Lindsey, 11, were killed inside their Upatoi home on Jan. 4. 

On Wednesday during a press conference held by the Columbus Police Department, the media learned 17-year-old Jervarceay Tapley, who was arrested for the triple murder, was like family to the victims even though he wasn't a blood relative.

"I have forgiven them in my heart. It is my desire in my heart that the family forgive, that the community forgive and through faith in our God it helps us to heal through forgiveness," says Bishop Kevin Jones, Gloria Short's oldest son.

Tapley was friends with Caleb but Gloria's brother said he suspected him all along.

"My sister bought Tapley clothes, got his hair cut when he was with Caleb, she treated him like he was her own child," said Kevin.

Tapley is one of two suspects arrested for three counts of murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, burglary and two counts of theft by motor vehicle. 

"We thank God for his strength. We could never get through without Him and we are hoping people see how good God is. That you should draw close to God even in the midst of tragedy," says Shameika Averett mother of Gianna Lindsey.

Averett says scholarships are being set up through the two youngest victims' schools - one through Shaw High School in honor of 17-year-old Caleb Short and another through Ridgecrest Elementary in honor of Gianna.

"Also the Kingdom Metropolitan Worship Center's preparatory school is offering a scholarship. It is going to be a scholarship for five girls," says Averett.

Columbus Police Chief Boren confirmed Raheam Daniel Gibson, 19, as the second suspect.

Gibson is being held in Harris County Prison and Tapley is scheduled to be in Muscogee County Recorder's Court Friday at 2 p.m.

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