JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The life of Mark Asay is scheduled to end Thursday, but the family of one of his two 1987 murder victims is being pieced back together -- even as they anticipate the closure Asay's execution will bring them.
Asay, 53, was convicted of the murders of Robert Lee Booker and Robert McDowell, who were shot to death separately the morning of July 18, 1987. Asay is scheduled to die for those murders at 6 p.m. Thursday.
Hours after News4Jax interviewed one of Booker's 13 siblings about his feelings surrounding the looming execution, Booker's long-lost son contacted us, hoping to get in touch with the family he never knew.
Terrance Maddox was 11 years old when his father, a black man, was gunned down by Asay after Asay called him a racial slur, according to police.
“It was that evening when my mom came in and told us, 'Your dad got shot and killed,'” Maddox recalled.
His family kept a newspaper clipping about the murder for 30 years. It has faded over the years, but the memory has not, Maddox said.
“(He) took a father from me,” Maddox said of Asay, adding that he refuses to harbor hate toward his father's killer. “I don't hate him, because (then) he has power. If you hate this man after 30 years, he's still controlling you, your feelings, your emotions.”
Maddox said after seeing his uncle, Frank Booker, his father's oldest living brother, interviewed on News4Jax, he was anxious to try to reunite with the family he hasn't seen since he was 11 years old.
“One life ends and another begins. Something closes and something opens for all this to come together,” Maddox said. “This is a closure.”
News4Jax arranged for Frank Booker and his sister, Joanne Booker, to meet Maddox on Wednesday.
Frank Booker said he recognized Maddox immediately. He said he looked just like his father.
“I needed this,” he said, hugging Maddox. “I definitely needed this.”
Joanne Booker told Maddox that she used to come to his Stockton Street home when he was younger.
Maddox showed his aunt and uncle the precious clipping his family had saved for three decades, and Frank Booker asked him to make copies of it for the family.
“He changed lives, (Asay did), for both sides of (my brother's) family,” Frank Booker said. “It's 30 years of hell and thinking what it could have been like.”
Maddox explained his feelings about Asay to the Bookers.
“It was already instilled in me about forgiveness and hatred and bitterness, not letting it get in your heart, because if it's still there, then Mark has won,” Maddox said. “He still has power over us, and I refuse to give him that power.”
Frank Booker said he doesn't hate Asay, either.
“I don't want to hate, but what was wrong was wrong,” he said, “and God Almighty says you must pay.”
Maddox, Frank Booker and Joanne Booker said they do not plan to attend Asay's execution, but several of Robert Booker's siblings will be there.
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