Joseph P. Motto (Joe)
24 Years Old

December 9, 1979 to October 17, 2004

On December 9, 1979, my only child, Joseph, was born. He was so precious, his face so flawless, his eyes so blue, his skin so soft, and I whispered, “I love you, son,” for the first time.

On October 21, 2004, I was led to a coffin where my beautiful son laid. This time his face not flawless, his skin not so soft, only cold, very cold, and I whispered, “I love you, son,” for the last time.

My son Joe was a loving, giving young man with a heart as big as the world and the most beautiful blue eyes ever. They were the window into one of the most beautiful souls we had the privilege of loving. It was rare to see him get angry about anything. He was taught family values and moral values. He loved his family, his girlfriend, his friends and especially his animals. He not only showed his love to others; he was always so respectful to grownups. Joe was a very picky eater. As a child my family gave Joe a nickname, they called him (Joe Juice) because he preferred apple juice and he wouldn’t drink anything else. When Joe adapted to grownup food, ravioli and pizza were his favorite next to his love for chicken cutlets. Joe graduated from St. John Newman High School in 1997. He had a passion for cars and motorcycles. My son Joe always gave the best bear hugs. In any case we all loved Joe. He should be here to take a wife and to have his own children, my grandchildren. How can one summarize 24 years of life, love, joy, shared laughter, hugs, tears, “I love you Mom?” This selfish act has broken our hearts and has left a void that can never be replaced.


On October 17th at about 3:00 am Joe was shot. He died on that day in the hospital. His murderer, Shuja Moore walked into Deco’s nightclub with a gun looking to rob someone. He was in the process of robbing a customer. He had his gun in the person’s ribs demanding money and during the struggle with the bouncer and customer, Shuja Moore pulled the trigger. The bullet from the gun hit the bouncer’s thigh, exited his leg and went straight across the room hitting my son in the stomach. Joe was just an innocent bystander. On that Sunday just 16 hours later Joe never regained consciousness. We never had a chance to say goodbye. He ruined Joe’s entire family that night especially my Joe who was just starting his own life as an adult. No amount of time will ever heal our hearts or our family.

The trial was long and wearisome and the sentencing was worse. He was found guilty and was sentenced to 3rd degree murder. The defendant had 5 counts against him and the judge ran every charge concurrent. He only has to serve 12 years with good behavior. It’s not fair that I have to serve a life sentence and not the person responsible for my son’s murder.

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Joseph Motto