07/12/05 — Family: 'We miss her'

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Family: 'We miss her'

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on July 12, 2005 1:45 PM

The grandfather of Precious Ebony Whitfield hopes her murderer, Eric Glenn Lane, will realize the grief and sorrow he caused.

John Whitfield of Fayetteville said Monday he knew a Wayne County Superior Court jury would sentence Lane to death for the kidnap, rape and murder of the 5-year-old girl in 2002.

Precious Whitfield

Precious Whitfield

"I hope and pray that Eric gets it right with God because he took our granddaughter away from us," said Whitfield, a computer specialist in a military hospital and a part-time minister. "We do have our memories. He also has his memories of what he did to her, and what brought us here. He'll have to replay those things in his mind. I hope one day that he realizes what he did caused a lot of grief to my friends, her brother and sisters."

Whitfield also hoped the jury's death sentence would send a message to other potential child molesters so that "someone else's little child won't have to go through what my granddaughter did."

Whitfield had said he wanted Lane sentenced to life in prison without parole with photos posted in his cell of the little girl before she was killed and then how she looked after she was found alongside Nahunta Creek near the Airport Road bridge.

Whitfield said he harbored no ill will toward Lane's father and stepmother, Pete and Joan Lane, who attended the trial each day.

"I say to his parents, 'God bless you.' You did what you could. You raised him the best you could."

Whitfield and his wife, Latisha, offered brief condolences to the Lanes after the trial.

Latisha Whitfield said she wondered why Lane committed the crimes.

"What was the reason you took such a respectful, inquisitive, caring, intellectual, optimistic little girl from us. Why did you do this?" she asked.

"Death is not the answer," said Mrs. Whitfield, the stepmother of Precious' mother. "If it would've brought my Precious, my baby, back, I would've said death."

She said she will miss the little girl.

"Those quirky little things Precious did we'll never see again. This will never be closed. I miss her and think about her every single day. I wished I had not let her mama take her that day."

Precious' mother, Michelle Whitfield, 26, said she was happy about the verdict and the jury's sentencing recommendation.

She said she had wanted the death penalty.

In the meantime, she has had four more children, ages 5, 4, 2 and 4 months, and is living with Anthony McQuirter in Fayetteville. They lived in Saulston and managed a Goldsboro fast-food restaurant in 2002.