Memorial honors Upatoi triple murder victims 1 year later

(Source: Jose Zozaya / WTVM)
(Source: Jose Zozaya / WTVM)

UPATOI, GA (WTVM) - It's been one year since three members of a Upatoi family were brutally murdered.

Gloria Short, her son Caleb Short, and granddaughter 10-year-old Gianna Lindsey were all found dead inside their Bentley Drive home.

Family and loved ones gathered by the victims' gravesides on Wednesday to remember them.

So many who came out tried to hold back tears, and the victims' family still grieves to this very day.

The heartache still lingers for Shameika Averett every day since Jan. 4, 2016, when her life, and the life of her family changed forever.

"It's day-by-day, it's been a struggle, from the beginning to now, we are forever broken," Shameika said.

One year ago, her mother, Gloria Short, her brother, Caleb, and her 10-year-old daughter Gianna Lindsey were found lying inside Gloria's Bentley Drive home, beaten to death.

They now rest in Green Acres Cemetery where they were visited by mourning loved ones, who won't let their lives be forgotten.

"I didn't want to not do anything because I don't want my family to ever, ever be forgotten, and we might not do this every year, but this first year, we needed to do this to come together and remember them," Shameika said.

The ceremony was an intimate affair with framed pictures placed by each victim's name, followed by a prayer circle and a balloon release for each family member.

Another relative says they still struggle to forgive the three suspects accused of the heinous murder.

"For me, and I think my family feels the same way, we don't hate anybody," said Denicia Sumbry. "We're disappointed, we're upset, we're angry, but we're all Christians and we believe in God and we live by His word."

In our conversation with the family, they told us this past holiday season was especially difficult for them, knowing Gloria, Caleb and Gianna weren't there.

They do say, however, that they've grown stronger and closer, thanking their faith for their strength.

Court status of Upatoi murder suspects

Raheam Gibson, who was 19 at the time of the killings, has requested a psychological evaluation, according to attorneys. The case cannot proceed in court until that exam is completed, and it's unclear if the evaluation has been scheduled...

We do know once it's done, the case will be put on Judge Gill McBride's trial docket for the senseless killings of Gloria Short, her son and granddaughter.

Motion hearings will likely take place and then a trial date.

Gibson and two other suspects, then 17-year-old Jarvarceay Tapley and then 15-year-old Rufus Burkes were indicted last July on three counts of felony murder, three counts of malice murder, kidnapping, burglary and theft charges.

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