Loved ones lay to rest Fantasia Stone, mother who was burned alive
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — While her murder suspect sat in jail, Fantasia Stone’s family sat in church. Friends and family members of said their final goodbyes on Wednesday at her funeral at Peace Baptist Church.
Stone, 38, is the Rochester mother of five who was burned alive in her Jefferson Avenue Apartment building on April 11.
Stone was remembered as a friend whose smile would light up a room.
“The whole time I’ve been trying to be strong,” says Stone’s counsin, Taynika Harvey. “I promised one thing, I might not be strong here today. But I tried my hardest not to cry in front of y’all and just keep y’all strong, so y’all can grieve the way y’all need to.”
Rochester police say Stone was doused with a flammable liquid and then set on fire inside an apartment building on Jefferson Avenue. Another fire was set in the same building about 12 hour later.
Police arrested Troy Parker and charged him with murder and arson. Parker pleaded not guilty two weeks ago. Police called the act that killed Fantasia Stone “savagery.”
Outside the church, we spoke with two of Stone’s sisters.
Exabia Stone was adopted as a child but when she got access to her birth certificate two years ago, she started looking for her family.
“And through the power of Facebook I found Fantasia and I found my brother and we reconnected on April 11, actually. The same day she passed.” says Exabia.
That’s right- Exabia and Fantasia met April 11, the night she was killed.
“And she just ran up to me and we just hugged each other and we cried and it was a the best moment of my life,” says Exabia. “And I just thank her and I miss her and without her I wouldn’t have known anybody else in my family. I would have still been lost.”
News10NBC’s Berkeley Brean contacted the District Attorney’s Office late Wednesday. They said they grand jury hasn’t risen yet, but it has voted to indict Parker on at least one felony.
Arraignments happen about a week after the grand jury rises.
Last month, News10NBC spoke with Stone’s oldest daughter. 18-year-old CIZA Kirkland is the eldest of Fantasia Stone’s five kids. She explains her mom was the rock of the family, a role she now must take on for her siblings.
“To know that my mom was here whenever I needed her and she’s not here anymore I don’t have that, I feel lonely,” Kirkland said.
The struggle of losing her mom hurts her deeply. It’s hard for her to put in words. There are no words as tears roll down her face. The tears speak louder than any words she could speak. She explains the day her mom died. She had a gut feeling she should visit her.
“We were going to see our mom, but we didn’t,” Kirkland said. “But something told me to that day, but I didn’t listen.”
She never imagined she would not see her mom again.
“Around 11 nighttime, I got the phone call that my mom was either on fire or that she died,” Kirkland said.
Police charged Troy Parker, 53, with Stone’s murder. Stone and Parker were friends, someone she trusted. Now she’s trying to make sense of why he would harm her.
“To know that someone close to my mom killed her, like why?” Kirkland said. “I feel so bad for him because just like how I lost a family member, y’all about to lose one too.”
Now as Kirkland prepares to get her high school diploma from Northeast Prep, she’s also making funeral preparations for her mom. The services will be held at Memories Funeral Home on Hudson Avenue at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 10. Kirkland still can’t believe her mom is gone.
“I just know I don’t want to cry anymore because every time I cry I always hear her voice ‘Don’t cry, don’t cry,’ but it’s so hard not to,” Kirkland said.