It was clear by the love expressed in a Conyers church Saturday night that the memories of Jarmecca Yvonne Whitehead, or “Nikki” as she was nicknamed, have not diminished more than a year after her death.
About 40 of her friends and family members gathered at HighPointe Church on Highway 138 for a memorial service. Originally planned for the one-year date of Nikki’s death on Jan. 13, it was rescheduled because of the snow.
A few times, Nikki’s only children, twins Tasmiyah and Jasmiyah Whitehead, 17, were briefly mentioned as needing the same love people held for Nikki. They are in jail facing felony murder and assault charges for her beating and stabbing death and will face a jury trial together. A motions hearing, part of the court process, was continued to April.
“Although we come to occasions like these with mixed emotions, the one thing we’re not confused about is God’s goodness,” HighPointe Bishop Sherman L. Young Sr. said.
He spoke about the crimes throughout last year that rocked the community, not just Nikki’s murder.
“The violence that’s out here is too much,” Young said. “It’s too strong. It needs to be stopped.”
Some people in the audience responded, “Amen!”
Nikki’s cousin, Hamilton Hill, reminisced about seeing her at family reunions in Stone Mountain Park. The last time he saw Nikki she was doing his wife’s hair and they were talking about love.
After recounting grieving other family deaths such as his younger brother and another cousin, Hill asked his family to be more unified and to pray.
Desmica Head, daughter of Nikki’s longtime boyfriend Robert Head, said Nikki likely never knew how much she helped strengthen Desmica’s bond with Head.
A Bauder College representative and Nikki’s academic advisor, Ronda Anderson, then presented Lynda Whitehead with a resolution the school drafted after Nikki died.
“The enthusiasm that that young lady had,” Anderson recalled. “She wanted to learn everything I knew.” Anderson had suggested the two become business partners in an image consulting company and was impressed when Nikki immediately began working on business cards.
Then Lynda Whitehead took the stage. The room fell silent. Slowly she took the microphone off its stand and wiped her eyes.
“It’s still a difficult time,” she said. “But I’m still so grateful for you coming up to help me celebrate my child.”