submit a death
James McCoy III (18) was found hanging from a tree by a belt
Suicide - Asphyxiation
Published: Aug 12, 2008 @ 10:11 AM
James McCoy III (18)
Apr 22, 2006
view their profile
Wednesday April 25, 2007, 3:28 pm
James McCoy III, a member of Church of the Messiah in suburban Westerville, was found hanging from a tree last April 22 in a remote area of Camp Cotubic, a Christian camp east of Bellefontaine where his youth group was on retreat. It was his 18th birthday.
News reports at the time said authorities were told McCoy had inexplicably wandered off from the group and that his friends were confused and shocked by his death. A preliminary coroner's report called the death a suicide.
But a lawsuit filed Monday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court alleges that the boy died as a result of his friends, who were white, playing a version of a choking game on him as a birthday prank.
The lawsuit, seeking $25,000 in damages, claims that four unidentified youths gave false statements to authorities after the incident, leading officials to believe McCoy had been depressed and suicidal, and later created false writings to back up their story.
"If this was a hanging, it was a lynching rather than a suicide," said Cliff Arnebeck, an attorney for McCoy's mother, Tonya Amoako-Okyere.
The suit further claims that four unnamed authorities involved in responding to the incident were negligent in monitoring the youth outing, failed to quickly resuscitate McCoy and never investigated whether he might have been the victim of racial violence.
Church officials reached by The Associated Press said they were unable to comment on the lawsuit or the circumstances surrounding McCoy's death on the advice of their attorney. A message seeking comment from Logan County Coroner Michael Failor was not returned.
McCoy's death has already drawn the attention of the U.S. Department of Justice, whose civil rights section closed an initial investigation into the matter last month. In a letter to Amoako-Okyere, authorities said they had determined they either lacked evidence or jurisdiction to pursue criminal charges but that she may want to pursue options in civil court.
Bellefontaine is about 50 miles northwest of Columbus.
Westerville family sues in son's hanging
Teen's Choking Racially Motivated
go back to article archive list
article loaded in 0 ms
Saieed Ivey (20) was shot while on a night out celebrating his birthday
A former Chicago high school basketball star who left the Windy City to escape the gun violence was fatally shot in Los Angeles after celebrating his birthday.
Jocelyn Peters (30) was 7 months pregnant when she was shot and killed by her boyfriend's friend
A pregnant St. Louis teacher gunned down in her home was killed by her boyfriend's childhood friend, prosecutors said Thursday.
Giovanni Nin (26) was struck by an SUV while riding his bicycle
She knew her boyfriend was only a minute away from her apartment, so when he didn't show up, she went looking for him.
Nicholas Farmer (19) took his own life after posting a goodbye message on Facebook
Nick's last post - I'm truly sorry to everyone that I've hurt, especially my family, I'm sorry for all the trouble and hurt I've caused or just been part of. I never wanted nor meant to hurt anyone, the drugs just took over and I had no chance against them. I love you all so much bye world..
Amarveer Dhugga (38) was killed in a chain-reaction auto accident
A Canadian trucker has died after a chain-reaction crash on I-75 near the Michigan-Ohio border.
Copyright © 2009 MyDeathSpace.com