On August 4th, 28 year old Charles Freeborn was inside his girlfriend’s house watching TV, when a shooter opened fire.
The family and friends of Charles Freeborn are struggling to move forward, after the prime suspect in his murder was found not guilty. The Freeborn family is convinced police had the right man, and the jury made a mistake. Now, they say they are left in mourning, and fear.
“A day doesn`t go by that I don`t miss him,” said Christina Freeborn, Charles Freeborn’s sister.
“He’s supposed to bury me. It’s hard real hard,” Homer Freeborn, Charles’ father said.
His mother, Barbara said one of the hardest things is never being able to say anything to him again, or have him say something, anything, to her.
TJ Vasquez says it's bad enough his best friend, Chuck, died so suddenly and unexpectedly, but the way it happened- somebody driving by and shooting at him- is even harder. But the fact that Chuck's killer is still on the loose, is what keeps everyone in Chuck's inner circle awake at night.
“Somebody’s guilty of it. The bullet came from a gun, somebody shot the gun,” said Vasquez.
This past summer, police thought they had their man. But after a jury found the prime suspect not guilty, chuck's inner circle has had to circle back to the beginning.
“How can the case be closed? How can it be closed if there’s no body behind bars? The justice system failed, somebody failed. Somebody failed badly, miserably. And now everybody has to pay for it with no answers?” said Vasquez in disbelief.
One of the many ways the family is paying is with their sense of security.
“You never know, something like that could happen to anyone at any moment. Makes you think, makes you scared to sit in front of a window," said Vasquez.
To remember Chuck, his family and friends get together frequently- often at the tree they planted in his honor, in a park he once loved to visit. Another great reminder of Chuck is right in front of them: his 12 year old brother Cody is a spitting image.
“And he acts like him. It scares me!” said Barbara.
“He definitely reminds us all of Chucky every day. Attitude and all, so we get a little memory of Chucky through him,” said Vasquez.
Chuck’s family and friends hang onto that memory, especially when fear of a killer on the loose creeps in.
“It scares me because my little brother will be outside and I get worried that something is going to happen with him outside,” said Christina.
“They say it’s going to get easier, it doesn't get any easier,” said Homer, “Never let him be forgotten.”
The Freeborn family says their legal fight is not over. They are in contact with an attorney to try to figure out how to get the case re-examined. The Des Moines police department says they consider it closed- they, like the family, believe the right man was caught, but the jury got it wrong.