Exclusive: Shaw High School honors victim of 2016 Upatoi triple - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Exclusive: Shaw High School honors victim of 2016 Upatoi triple murder

(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)
(Source: WTVM) (Source: WTVM)

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Hundreds of students walked across the stage Saturday morning to receive their diplomas.

However, it was a bittersweet reminder for the graduating class of Shaw High School that one of their senior classmates was never able to walk in his own graduation.

Caleb Short's life was taken too soon during the January 2016 Upatoi murders, but his family, classmates and everyone in attendance of Saturday morning's graduation ceremony is still honoring this young man's life and legacy.

Shameika Averett, Caleb Short's Sister says, "This is something that we had to do, to honor him since this is his graduation."

It's been 16 months since Shameika Averett has held her brother, mother and her daughter close, but on May 27 her brother's memory was shining especially bright.

"It means a lot that the school did that," says Averett. "They gave us tickets so that they could come. This is something that we had to do, to honor him since this is his graduation."

A graduation gown placed specifically where Caleb Short would have been sitting during his high school graduation ceremony among the class of 2017, eager to begin his new chapter into the world.

"But it was a little challenging walking in and you know, seeing his gown there over the seat. And you know, he wasn't there so that was hard," says Averett.

A brutal triple homicide in Upatoi during January 4, 2016, took the lives of Averett's Mother, Gloria, 10-year-old daughter, Gianna and brother Caleb.

He was only 17 when he was killed.

"Tomorrow is his birthday so he would be turning 19," says Averett. "Yeah, he would have graduated right at the age of 18."

Averett says she doesn't ever want her family to be forgotten and during today's ceremony, there was a moment of silence as Caleb's name was called across the stage.

"We would have been extremely proud of him and so would my mother," says Averett.

The three suspects accused of the killings,19-year-old Raheam Gibson, 17-year-old Jervarceay Tapley and 15-year-old Rufus Burks, are all being held on murder and other charges. 

A status hearing for the suspects has been scheduled for June 6.

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