Neesmith was arrested and is expected to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, which might bring a year in a special detention program that requires no time behind bars. The dead man's parents, Deede and Julius Patterson, watched news of Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida and–noting the similarities–began to wonder why no one was marching for their son.
Why do some cases with perceived racial implications catch the national consciousness and others do not? The New York Times considers that question in a story that looks into a 2011 homicide in Lyons, Ga., in which Norman Neesmith, white and 62, shot and killed the unarmed Justin Patterson, black and 22. The shooting happened when Neesmith found Patterson and his brother in his home in the middle of the night, having been secretly invited to party with an 18-year-old relative he had raised like a daughter and her younger friend. The young people were paired up in separate bedrooms.