Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family, community lay to rest 4-year-old stabbing victim

ST. PETERSBURG — A red carpet led mourners to the tiny white casket, not much longer than an outstretched arm. Joseph Artis IV was nicknamed "Turtle," and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fabric lined his coffin.

"To be disturbed today, that is something that's normal," Brother Eric Graham said from behind a lectern.

A couple hundred people sat in folding chairs and on bleachers inside the Wildwood Recreation Center basketball gymnasium Saturday afternoon.

The 4-year-old's grandmother, father, two sisters and uncle sat nearest the casket.

Next, a woman walked to the lectern and spoke a poem about Joseph's headstone. Born May 23, 2009 — died March 28, 2014, she said it would read.

As the community mourned the untimely loss of such a young child, the boy's mother was locked up in Pinellas County Jail, charged with first-degree murder and the death of her son.

Joseph's grandmother had custody of the boy because his mother, Tasha Trotter, 40, had spent much of the last decade in a mental health facility. Just two months before the boy's fifth birthday, Trotter visited him at his grandmother's 13th Avenue S home. Although Trotter was prone to eccentric behavior, she seemed to be in a normal mood that day. But as she sat on the porch, family said she rushed inside and grabbed a knife, stabbed Joseph multiple times and then held the bloodied boy on the front lawn until police arrived.

At the funeral Saturday, the woman at the lectern said "What matters most is the dash between those two years," referring to the years of Joseph's birth and death. That small dash, said Maggie Miles, an employee of Dallas & Davis Funeral Services, represents the short four years of memories that will last forever.

Then the pallbearers, each wearing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles pocket squares, lifted the tiny casket. It was barely long enough to fit the four men, and their shoulders rubbed beneath it. A shaking father, a solemn grandmother, the two sisters and uncle followed. And behind them, the rest of the community.

Weston Phippen can be reached at wphippen@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8321.

Family, community lay to rest 4-year-old stabbing victim 04/05/14 [Last modified: Saturday, April 5, 2014 10:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence

    National

    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”