Remembering Demetry

PHOTO: PRESLEY FAMILY Demetry Presley , 21, was gunned down early Sunday morning on South Street.
PHOTO: PRESLEY FAMILY Demetry Presley , 21, was gunned down early Sunday morning on South Street.
Posted: November 22, 2013

THIS WILL BE a somber Thanksgiving for the Presley family.

When the blended clan of 13 souls living in the mustard-colored, five-bedroom house gathers around a dining-room table, Demetry Presley will be with them only in spirit.

The athletic, loving, fun-to-be-around, good-with-the-girls 21-year-old was gunned down by a soulless thug on South Street early Sunday morning, dying in the arms of his big brother, Willie.

It happened about 1:30, a few steps away from the Mixed Plate Lounge, a restaurant-turned-nightclub that the Presleys, who live in Sicklerville, N.J., rented for $500 to stage an event, a "Stop Light Party." It was partly a family business venture, partly fun.

A few of Demetry's 12 siblings were involved, along with his burly father, Paul, who runs a home repair business and works weekends as a bouncer. Using social media, they drew more than 200 people and it went well, Paul handling security at the door with brothers Demetry, Willie, Jarelle, Brandon and Paul Jr., and sister Sequoia working the table at the door.

Let me tell you a little about Demetry.

Raised in South Jersey, after graduating from Winslow H.S., Demetry attended Gloucester Community College and was ready to enter Camden Community College, where he wanted to pursue sports management to use his love of sports in a business. For the past year, he worked as a housekeeper at nearby Ancora Psychiatric Hospital, where his mother, Britta, is a senior clerk in the payroll department.

"No matter what was going on, he always focused on the good in the person or the situation," Britta says, adding that he loved basketball, track, going to the movies and the mall.

He was a "sneaker head," his brother Willie says, with about 20 pairs. He was also a wonderful uncle, always available to take his 6-year-old niece wherever she wanted to go, offers his sister-in-law, Adrienne.

We talked about Demetry around a hushed dining room table, with almost all in the family present.

He had never been in any kind of trouble, never even had a girlfriend.

"He had various female friends, not one steady girlfriend," says Britta with a smile. The 24-year-old accused assailant has prior arrests - and an alias. I am deliberately not using his name. That will be in the papers when he goes to trial. This is about Demetry.

Bright, smart and personable, Demetry had everything to live for and nothing to die for.

People were having fun at the party. Everyone who entered was stopped at the door for an age check and for the males to be patted down for illegal substances and weapons, says Demetry's father, Paul. No one inside was packing.

Everything was smooth until about 1:30, when a male put his hands around a woman's throat. Some of the Presleys stopped him, but that sparked a melee with as many as 25 people involved as police arrived. As Demetry was "tussling with a gentleman on the floor," says Willie, Demetry was gashed and was bleeding from his left eyebrow.

Police got everyone out and Willie, 24, and some other family members started walking to Willie's car so he could drive Demetry to the hospital. Demetry was a little out of it - Willie surmises Demetry got a concussion in the fighting. The younger brother had his arm around the older brother's shoulders, leaning on him for support.

They approached a group of men, and when one of them shouted, "Isn't that them right there," Willie knew things were breaking bad.

The man who had been the choker pulled a chrome semiautomatic and opened up from about 5 yards away. The first volley missed and Willie pulled Demetry behind a car for cover. The thug closed to within a few feet and shot Demetry five times. The final shot hit him in the head and Willie felt his brother's life force dim.

His gun empty, the shooter fled, but was captured by police. When he entered the club, he was unarmed, meaning he had to get the gun from somewhere and return. Whatever then happened was premeditated.

Because the crud couldn't just walk away, Demetry is dead.

And that will make for a somber Thanksgiving in Sicklerville.



Phone: 215-854-5977

Twitter: @StuBykofsky



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