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“It was a little bit of a burden lifted off my heart” family shares emotional testimony a day after son’s killer found guilty

FORT WAYNE, IND. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Javon Burnett’s family shared what it was like, yesterday, in the court room waiting for a verdict against their son’s killer.

“My heart was just racing, waiting on the verdict. Nervous a little bit, but excited at the same time. Hoping things would come out the way they should,” said James Garder, Javon Burnett’s step-dad.

The jury found Tyrion McNair guilty on count one for the murder of Burnett, and on count two for using a firearm.

Today, Burnett’s family shared the anguish they have felt for nearly a year without their son.

J. Gardner remembers the day he found out his son was killed like it was yesterday saying, “By the time I got my clothes changed my wife had called me and said he was shot. I was like, [it’s] April 1st, if you are all playing this is not a good April fools joke.”

After finding out it wasn’t a joke, J. Gardner said it was still hard to believe.

“I was like no, we just talked with him 5 minutes ago, 10 minutes ago. No [it] can’t be him, even on the way there I thought in my mind, no,” said J. Gardner.

After finding out their 26-year-old son was gunned down outside the Summit at Ridgewood Apartments on Easter morning Cynthia Garder, Burnett’s mom, says it’s a day she’ll never forget.

“That was tough, because I still have that replay in my mind every time I walk into the church. I remember every detail of that day,” said Cynthia Gardner.

When the jury found 25-year-old Tyrion McNair guilty for the murder of Javon Burnett his family says they felt a sense of relief.

“When I heard them say guilty I immediately began to shed tears, and [feel] a sense of peace. Not closer, but a sense of peace for me, relief in that moment,” said C. Gardner.

J. Gardner says he feels the same way.

“Well just before they read the verdict I told my wife, we held hands and I said lets pray. I had my eyes closed, and was holding her hands, and it was a little bit of a burden lifted off my heart. But the hole is still there.”

Both of Burnett’s parents say it was hard looking at McNair during the trial, but Burnett’s mom says she experienced something unique at the courthouse.

“I ended up meeting Mr. McNair’s mother getting off the elevator, and even then she gave me her condolences. I hugged her and told her I was praying for her family. Because even in the mists of this it’s tough for the other family to have to go through this,” said C. Burnett.

Burnett’s family says they feel justice was served for their son.

Family said Burnett was an amazing father to his 7 kids and could light up a room with his smile.

Kaitlyn Kendall

Kaitlyn Kendall anchors ABC21 news at 5 and is the chief investigative reporter for the stations Digging Deeper team.

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