April 19, 2007 — It was a long, hot and heart-wrenching morning and afternoon for the overflow crowd that attended the funeral of 12-year-old murder victim LaQuina Kadija Hennis at Christchurch Methodist Church in Market Square Thursday morning.
At points during the service, Hennis' classmates could be seen holding and hugging each other, drying each others tears.
During the service, flowers surrounded her white casket, and a large picture of Hennis stood just behind.
Her death has touched many through the territory and they were there to show their concern and support. The church was crowded with family and friends, community leaders, government officials, and classmates and teachers from the Lockhart Elementary School, where Hennis was a sixth-grader. Some on hand had never even known her, but were touched by her passing.
The morning began at 9 a.m. with songs and community tributes, followed by a formal funeral service officiated by the Rev. Selwyn L. Vanterpool.
The ceremony was filled with many touching moments, and a majority of the audience was often moved to tears. Many were overcome with grief and were aided and comforted by members of the congregation.
Hennis' basketball teammates lined the aisles, and her classmates surrounded her casket and filled the altar area as her eulogy was read. Each of the letters of her name was held up one by one as her eulogy was delivered by Adisha Penn.
'L' is for the love she brought into the world. 'A' is for her athleticism. 'Q' is for her queenliness," Penn said, as she eventually spelled out her first and last name, ending on "'S' because she was so, so sweetness.
Penn went on to say, So, today, Ms. Leonice Donovan (her teacher) and we, her remaining 24 royalties of Room 1067, crown our fallen classmate and friend LaQuina K. Hennis — class queen.
Police Detective John Farrington spoke eloquently for the family as he thanked many in the audience for their help and kindnesses through the familys ordeal.
Farrington thanked Donovan and her students saying, LaQuina was very happy whenever she was with you at school. He went on to say, I want to thank so many people who reached out to her and loved her. Not just now, but when she was alive."
Farrington closed, I pray that this never happens again in this community. Please, dont let it happen again.
After Farringtons words, the congregation joined in reciting Psalm 23, followed by a reading of the Epistle and the Gospel readings.
During his homily, Vanterpool said, The way she died will cause us to mourn for a long time and her death is likely to raise many questions. Still he cautioned the crowd against seeking revenge, which he called "a slow and deadly poison."
After the service, a marching band and entourage preceded the hearse, leading the huge crowd in a slow march down Main Street to Western Cemetery No. 3 for her interment.
While the assembled group sang hymns, her casket was quickly placed in a crypt; LaQuinas mother, Beatrice Hennis, was overcome with grief and given shade, water and support by family and friends.
Tears streamed down the face of Hennis' sister, LaQuanda, who was holding a large photo of LaQuina, as she watched the crypt being sealed.
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