85-year old mother increases reward money in son's death

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It only takes a few minutes to talk to Thelma Bernstein and you can tell how much the death of her son has consumed her.

"You'll never get over it," she said, fighting back tears. "You go with it. No matter what you do, you may not talk about it, but it's in your body, it's in your cells, all of you, all the time."

But just as quickly as she talks about her pain, she also talks about her love for Scott "Blue" Bernstein and the gift for music he began showing at a very early age.

"He started a hum and would go like this on the table," she said, using her fingers to symbolize drumstick movements. "So the music was in his head as a young child."

She says that gift carried Scott to Berklee College of Music in Boston and back to Birmingham, where he taught and played. The love that started early in life was with him till the day he died on Nov. 4, 2007.

"It was on a Sunday morning. It was a nearby church in service at that time," Birmingham Homicide Sgt. Scott Thurmond said. "He'd gone down there, we're not sure exactly what the reason was he was down there."

Scott Bernstein was fatally shot inside his car as he sat along Cotton Avenue in southwest Birmingham. Shortly after his death, there were a few persons of interest, but never a suspect.

Then governor Bob Riley initially offered a reward of $5,000. But recently, Bernstein's mother put up an additional $5,000. She said believes police are doing all they can to find her son's killer and she wanted to do the same.

"I can't forget it. People say, 'You can get over it'. You don't get over your child being killed. If it's an illness, that's a different story. But I can't get over it," Berstein said.

Sgt. Thurmond believes the extra money will help solve the case.

"We know the eyes and ears of the public were there that day," he said. "We just need them to come forward."

At age 85, Thelma Bernstein needs that too.

"I want this to end so I can have peace before I die. it's just got to end," she said.

Police say they will do all they can to keep the person who helps them find Bernstein's killer remain anonymous. But they also stress the $10,000 reward money will go to the person who helps them arrest and convict the suspect. If you have information that can help, you are asked to call Birmingham police at 254-1764 or Crimestoppers at 254-7777.

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