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Willie Pete Kent- Organ Donor To A Maniac Or Maniacs Unknown

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  • Willie Pete Kent- Organ Donor To A Maniac Or Maniacs Unknown

    To kickstart the forum....this is something I wrote ( truncated ) around 9 years ago about a murder in Philadelphia...and there has been no updating to report.

    Case Insensitive: The Philadelphia Ripper - by Howard

    February 28th, 2003 was almost like any other Winter day in Philadelphia. Cold, raw, and typically overcast. Being that it was a Friday, the only bright spot was that the weekend was approaching. In North Philadelphia, for many,that meant a rejuvenation of drug sales on the meanest streets of the city. This, after all, is The Badlands.

    The Badlands of Philadelphia are Philadelphia’s Whitechapel and in more ways than one,as we shall see.
    The Badlands are an area where , at night, “anything goes”. Police presence can usually be found in force on the main drag,Broad Street,patrolling and ostensibly stifling potential acts of prostitution. However,its the side streets where from row homes ( Philadelphia has more row homes than any city on Earth ) and dark alleys that much of the nocturnal activity occurs. Vacant lots and abandoned buildings are the norm, not the exception. Boarded-up homes and homes barricaded from within by drug dealers are quite common. From this environment,the serial killers, Gary Heidnik and Marty Graham, savaged women in North Philadelphia back in the 1980's.

    When one reads Paul Begg’s book, JTR, The Definitive History ( Longman Press ), the reader will find a terrific history of how the East End of London came about. The East End of the late 19th Century was once a thriving community with 50,000 people employed in the silk industry alone in 1854 (1). 25 years later,that figure had shrunk to 3,000.

    So too,North Philadelphia had thrived. Those were the old days,however,as dozens of large employers moved away,leaving a huge portion of Philadelphia’s working class-blacks scrambling for whatever jobs were available.

    It is the old days of 1950's Philadelphia,that attracted Willie “Pete” Kent, to the city in the first place. Born on May 11th, 1942,in Savannah,Georgia, Willie James Kent was adopted into a family of 15 children. His mother had nicknamed him “Pete Chachi”,for reasons unknown,but the “Pete” remained. Kent, a man barely 5 foot tall, became a union steel and iron cutter as well as a Deacon at a nearby church. He met a woman,Earthadine Christy,with whom he had one daughter, Letrese. Kent and Ms. Christy never married. Willie Kent and his ladyfriend were neighborhood fixtures in North Philadelphia.

    He was also part of the now-defunct North Philadelphia Political Caucus, a group formed in the late '70s to "try and change conditions, particularly east of Broad Street," says state Sen. Shirley M. Kitchen, who worked with him in those efforts. Kitchen recalls Kent meeting with elected officials on several occasions to explain why they needed to pay more attention to North Philadelphia.
    In some respects, Kent's problems--namely those with alcohol--got the better of him.
    In better days he was often seen sweeping the block of Seventh Street between Jefferson and Oxford until it was as spotless as North Philly can get. About six years ago he wound up living on those same streets.
    An image recounted over and over again by those who knew him was that of a man who earned his money and would spend some of it on an ale or two.
    Sober, he was soft-spoken to the point of near silence. When he opened his mouth, it was always in a respectful manner. But after even a single beer, the lovefest began. He wouldn't hesitate to tell anybody and everybody how much he cared for them.
    Never, say friends, did the booze turn him violent. And never--contrary to some reports in this narcotics-infested sliver of the city--did relatives see him dabbling in drugs.
    Locals credit Christy with keeping an eye on Kent and always being there for him when he faced the troubles that dogged him in life.
    Though it may be difficult for some to understand, Kent just "chose to make people think that he was homeless," says his daughter.
    He'd stay at Bryant's home for months at a time, but once it warmed up outside, he'd ultimately take another of his street-life sabbaticals.
    About 25 blocks away from Bryant's home sits David's Food Market, the corner grocery where Kent helped out for the two decades before his death. His bosses loved him and considered him family.
    Kent lived on the money he made at the food market and a monthly disability check. (2)
    Willie “Pete” Kent definitely deserved better than the way they found him on that cold,gray day in February, 2003. Dumped in an alley on 1520 Eighth Street,in the Badlands, Pete was found with a rope around his neck,frozen and most definitely dead.
    Along with the apparent garroting, Kent was “laid open like a frog in biology class”. Throat slashed and with wounds that call to mind the Fiend of Whitechapel, his heart,his liver,and his kidney were missing. Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson was heard to say on television ,”Whoever did this,knew what they were doing..”

    Excluding the few writers who have tackled the case, there has been almost an indecent omission regarding updates to this case for the public.. The similarities of Whitechapel’s canonical 5 and The Badlands’ Pete Kent stop where public concern and interest begins. These 5 women unwillingly were the catalysts to a 116 year investigation that seems inexhaustible.....
    Its my contention that had Willie Pete Kent been a suburban kid seeking to score cocaine in the neighborhood and wound up ripped like Kent did, we would have seen more, a lot more, regarding the case. Had Pete been a public figure,a rabbi, a school teacher, or a member of the Mayor’s family, the concomitant coverage would have been staggering. It is noteworthy to mention that there have been 2 prevalent theories regarding HOW he died. The first, is that he was eviscerated and then dumped into that trash-strewn alley...the second is that he died of natural causes ( with a rope around his neck?) And then eviscerated,possibly by someone with an interest in selling organs.

    1- JTR,The Definitive History by Paul Begg...Longman,2003,page 19.
    2-Remains of The Day-Hickey,2003,Philadelphia Wkly.
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