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Justice for Justin: Murder victim's mother seeks justice in son's killing

Justin Wayne Bibles
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Justin Wayne Bibles 3
Posted at 4:37 PM, Aug 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 23:54:49-04

WACO, TX — Justin Wayne Bibles would have turned 34 years old in July. Unfortunately, he would never reach that milestone. On May 1, 2018, Justin was gunned down in the Waco Red Lobster parking lot.

"For Father's Day, for his birthday, for any type of holiday, guess where I have to visit my son?" said mother Zada Bridgewater.

His suspected killer isn't facing charges, but Justin's mother Zada Bridgewater is seeking justice and hasn't stopped since the day her son was killed.

Justin's star was rising in the hip-hop scene.

"Mama give me two years. Just two years and you'll never have to work again," Zada remembers her son saying.

Justin wanted the words he wrote to take his family further.

"It was a way up. It was a way up and a way out. And to keep his children from having to want. That was his thing," she said.

Zada misses her only son.

"It's hard to lose a child. But I know my son and he wouldn't have wanted to lay like that. I made up my mind that if it came to that I knew what I was going to do. God was gracious and I didn't have to make that decision," said Zada.

Just after 11 am on May 1, 2018, witnesses reported a shooting behind the Red Lobster near the Richland Mall in Waco.

"I was at work. I can't even tell you how I made it to the hospital. I don't remember stopping at red lights. I'm still praying the whole way out there that he was going to be okay," said Zada.

"I knew it was serious. Being a nurse for as many years as I have you can pick up on some things. I had to prove that was my son and the nurse asked me 'can you describe him to me?' And my mind went blank on how to describe my child. I said 'I can tell you one thing. He's got my name over his heart,' and they took me right on up," she said.

Zada says all she could do was pray.

"It was time to pray. And that's what I did. That's all I could do because that was my baby laying there and all I could do was pray. They allowed me and his stepdad to go into the room. I couldn't touch him and kiss him. All I could do is stand back and hold my hand because of possible evidence. All I could do is say goodbye. I talked to him. I believe he heard me to a point but because I felt like his spirit was already in the room so I think he heard me," she said.

He died just after 5 pm that day.

"That's all I could think of was how? Who? How?" said Zada.

Days later Waco Police arrested Kenneth James Smith for the shooting. But in December of 2018, a grand jury did not indict him for the killing, citing a lack of evidence. The detective on the case declined an on-camera interview but told Central Texas News Now that Smith is still their suspect.

"I honestly believe that if this had happened in a bigger city, in another city- Austin, Houston, Dallas, this case would have been solved. As I'm talking to the detective, they're saying resources are limited," said Zada.

"My son was not perfect. He was perfect to me but I feel like they pulled his record and they're like, that's one less we've got to worry about. Do I feel like that? I sure do," said Zada.

"They're going to keep it out on the desk and keep it open until all of a sudden it's cold. And they're going to file it back into the cold cases," said Zada.

"[Waco] is where I live. I'd like to feel that my life or my son's life means as much as the next person. The next white person," said Zada.

"As my life," said KXXV Anchor Lindsay Liepman.

"As your life. I don't believe it does. Not in Waco I don't," said Zada.

"There's just too many questions for you to stop pushing for answers," said Liepman.

"Too many questions. Too many questions," said Zada.

The question of where is Kenneth Jame Smith has an answer. At the time of publication for this story, he was in the McLennan County Jail on unrelated charges.

Zada says that isn't justice for Justin or his four children.

"That's not the justice I want. I want to look that man straight in his eyes and I want him to know the pain he's caused," said Zada.

"I don't get it. Other than you're a coward. Kenneth Smith you're a coward. Yes he is," she said.

"I want justice and I want it right. I'd love to see justice before I'm laying down next to my son," said Zada.

Waco Police are urging witnesses to come forward with information so the case can be resent to the District Attorney's office. So far no motive or connection between Bibles and Smith has been made.

Central Texas News Now requested an interview with Smith in jail. The McLennan County Jail officials said it does not allow inmate interviews at this time.