Murder suspect's mother holds vigil

By Jonathan Hardison

BIRMINGHAM,AL (WBRC) - The mother of the man accused of killing missing Homewood mother Nadia Kersh says her son is innocent and being framed.

27-year-old Joacquas Haywood is facing capital murder charges after Homewood police say he killed Kersh while burglarizing her home in November of 2008. Haywood's family and the Birmingham NAACP held a vigil on Sunday to protest the way he is being portrayed and Haywood's family says investigators have the wrong man.

Kersh was last seen alive leaving her job at the Tria market in Homewood on November 3, 2008. Police and the community conducted numerous searches only finding the 23-year-old single mother's abandoned car and purse, never her body. In early May 2010 police arrested Haywood and charged him with Kersh's murder. Investigators say Haywood and Kersh knew each other, but say Haywood killed Kersh while burglarizing her home.

Haywood's mother said Sunday her son couldn't have done it. "It will be proven that Joacquas is innocent," LaTonia Haywood said. "They just needed someone. They have no body, no DNA, no one specifically saw Jock, all the evidence they have is circumstantial. Jock would not harm anyone."

Prosecutors admit trying a murder case without a body will be difficult, but investigators told us on the day of Haywood's arrest they are confident in their case "His name came up early in the investigation and of course there's corroborating evidence to sustain a warrant of this type," said Doug Finch of the Homewood Police Department.

Haywood's mother is not the only one crying foul. The head of Birmingham's chapter of the NAACP was at Sunday's Linn Park vigil to protest the speed at which Haywood's case is moving even though Kersh's body has never been found. "In other cases where they have not been able to have a body to be able to directly tie the person through forensic evidence, DNA, whatever the case may be, that that case isn't even brought to this stage until all of those benchmarks have been met," said Hezekiah Jackson of the Birmingham NAACP.

On what would've been Kersh's 25th birthday in July, her mom Nancy said finding her daughter is on the front of her mind, too. "One of the pleas would be to the person in jail," Kersh said. "If you know what's happened to Nadia, would you please take a look and think about us think about her family her friends that love her, and help us to find her."

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