LORAIN — A candlelight vigil and rally to remember the life of Johnnie Whitfield is planned for 6 p.m. today.
John T. Whitfield
Whitfield, 53, was found dead Tuesday in his home on West 23rd Street in a suspected homicide. The next day, police arrested a neighbor, Michele Noble, 46, in connection with his slaying.
Noble entered a not guilty plea Thursday in Lorain Municipal Court. She’s scheduled to be back for a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday. Her bail is set at $1 million.
With Imam Paul Hasan taking the lead, several community groups and friends and family of Whitfield will gather at 877 W. 23rd St. to remember his life and call for justice for his murder.
Family said Whitfield was a generous man who suffered from health issues his whole life, including a collapsed lung from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that left him dependent on an oxygen machine.
After his death, they gathered on the porch of Whitfield’s house where he was known to sit every day and greet those walking by.
“It’s coming together for a tragic situation in the community to bring support to the family and healing into the community,” Hasan said. “It’s crucial that we begin to be concerned about the kinds of things that continue to happen in the community.”
Whitfield had four daughters, including triplets, and 10 grandchildren who would stop by most days of the week to see him or cook him meals. Hasan said he hopes to be able to help the family out financially with unexpected expenses.
“We’ll be caring for the family,” Hasan said. “I want to emphasize that those that do come, come with the spirit of hope and aspiration.”