The Lookout’s Last Stand
An unarmed teenager caught up in one of New York’s most infamous murders gets twenty-five to life. An ardent activist vows to set him free.
Photos by Kyria Abrahams
On September 2, 1990, a murder took place in the New York subway. It was random and senseless — the type of crime that had come to define New York in this era.
It was a little over a year after the infamous Central Park jogger rape case, a time when much of the South Bronx was still a series of burned-out buildings filled with crack addicts. They said people would walk over your body to catch a cab in New York, and there were many people who wouldn’t have visited the city for anything in the world.
The Watkins family, however, did come to New York that year. Avid tennis fans, they made their yearly trek from Provo, Utah, to watch the US Open. After the match, they stood on the Seventh Avenue subway platform, on their way to dinner downtown. Perhaps they discussed their favorite players of the day, Martina Navratilova or Pete Sampras.
At the same time, a large group of about fifty teenagers were on their way to a big dance at Roseland Ballroom, just a block away.
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