Denise Richardson experienced a visceral reaction when she learned the name of the man Dayton police arrested in Wednesday’s deadly triple shooting on Oxford Avenue.
Muhammad Shabazz Ali, 61, had another name when he pleaded guilty to killing her sister, Angela, and their unborn baby in 1988. Ali — then Robert Ford — was sent to prison for admitting to voluntary manslaughter in the deaths committed in Montgomery County.
Richardson said she was reading the news story, wondering how someone could kill three people. “When I came to his name, it just made me sick, like oh my God,” she told News Center 7’s Natalie Jovonovich on Thursday evening.
Ali — then Ford — and Angela had two other children, beside the one in her womb, Richardson said. Their second son witnessed his mother’s slaying. She was 21 and eight months pregnant when she was stabbed.
“It devastated us a lot,” Richardson said, “especially me. I was working a job I had to quit because I cried all the time thinking about her. It was just a terrible time, the worst thing I ever felt.”
Reading about and seeing the coverage of the story brought back memories of a younger sibling who was more like a mom, Richardson said.
“It took me ten years when it happened to be able to talk about it without crying and today seeing that, it seemed like it happened all over again,” she said. “It just brought it all back all over again.”
Richardson said she had heard Ali changed his name while in prison (September 1988 until his parole in January 2009 and subsequent release from parole in January 2010), but she didn’t know what his “new” name was.
She was told where the former Robert Ford had been staying and studiously avoided him or even being on the same side of town where he lived.
“I just don’t want to see that person’s face knowing that they took my sister’s life,” she said.
When told that Ali had been at Day-Mont Behavioral Health Care twice on Wednesday — before and after police said he committed the shooting — Richardson said she has no knowledge of him being mentally challenged.
Richardson said she doesn’t know the victims of Wednesday’s killing — Tammy Cox, 53, believed to be Ali’s former girlfriend; Cox’s boyfriend Jasper Taylor, 74; and her son, Michael Cox, 25 — or the people who own the house on Oxford Avenue.
“I feel sad and hurt for them that they have to go through this,” she said.
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