One of two suspects has been cleared in Jamaica murders
ELYRIA — One of the suspects in the killing of two members of the prominent Nord family was acquitted of murder charges last month in Jamaica.
The verdict left Virginia Nord reeling and wondering how to get justice for her
38-year-old daughter Michele Thornton and 8-year-old granddaughter Marley. They were the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Eric T. Nord, the retired chief executive officer of Nordson Corp.
Their bodies were found Jan. 2, 2004. Jamaican police and news accounts of the incident said Thornton had been struck on the head, tied to a bed, raped and stabbed, and Marley was strangled.
Virginia Nord, who lives on Elyria’s north side, said Thursday would have been Marley’s 11th birthday.
“There’s no justice anymore,” Nord said. “I went down there thinking ‘Chances are he won’t be found guilty,’ and he wasn’t.’”
Police had charged Clive Livingston, then 19, with the rape and killing of Thornton after DNA consistent with Livingston’s was found, but a judge instructed the jury that other DNA was present, Nord said.
Jamaican police Sgt. Troy Anderson said the jury’s decision was influenced in large part by the DNA evidence.
“He was, in fact, exonerated because of insufficient evidence,” Anderson said.
But Nord said prosecutors failed to present the case they could have to the jurors. Her great-grandson, Noah, is believed to have witnessed the killing, but the jury never heard his accounts during the two-day trial, which started May 16.
“He said these two men murdered his grandmother and Marley, and they didn’t even question him,” Nord said of police and prosecutors.
That’s why the case of Jessie Davis, the pregnant woman missing from Canton, strikes so close to home for Nord. Davis’ 2-year-old son, Blake, told authorities his mother was crying, had broken a table and was in a rug. You can bet, Nord said, that his remarks will be presented if the case ever results in charges.
She said Noah told the family’s Jamaican housekeeper that Thornton’s estranged boyfriend, Keith “Culla” Morris and Livingston, Morris’ nephew, attacked his grandmother and Marley. “He said, ‘Culla and Clive killed Mommy Michele and Marley,’ ’’ Nord said.
Nord said prosecutors never asked the housekeeper about the boy’s comments during the trial, nor did they use notarized medical documents from the boy’s therapist.
Noah, now 6, and his brother, Marius, 4, live with Virginia Nord as does their mother, Sarah.
Nord said Noah’s a very intelligent boy who remembers what happened to his grandmother and Marley. “He said this morning, ‘Marley’s spirit is with us, great-grandmother.’ ”
She said Livingston never took the stand during the trial, but the jury heard testimony about his statements to police, including his boast that Morris was “a big man” with power and influence in the community, Nord said.
After the verdict, Nord said she confronted Livingston.
“I said, ‘Noah told me you and Culla murdered Michele and Marley,’ ” she said. “He just looked away.”
Nord said she also confronted Morris.
“I told him, ‘You’re a walking dead man,’ ” Nord said, which prompted him to tell those with him: “I don’t know this crazy woman,” she said.
Nord said she didn’t make the remark as a threat. Rather, it was an assessment of his and Livingston’s character, she said.
“I can’t fathom how someone could to do that to another human being and live, eat and breathe,” she said. “They’re dead already.”
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.