Parents ask killer in unsolved murder “how do you feel about what you’ve done?”
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A mother and father are trying to help police solve their son’s murder. Roughly half the murders in Rochester in 2022 are open cases, but the leads in the death of James Hallenbeck have dried up.
“So my question to the killer is,” asked Steve Hallenbeck. “How do you feel about what you’ve done?”
James Hallenbeck was 29-years-old. By night he was a musician. By day he used his biology degree to formulate new organic foods.
“I just want people to know that James had a brilliant mind,” his mother Carol said. “He never owned a gun. He was a pacifist and a vegan.”
In the early morning of August 21st, he was on one of his usual walks through his neighborhood off South Plymouth Avenue, across from the U of R, when he was shot and killed. He was found dead on Olean Street.
Carol Hallenbeck, mother: “It was more than shocking. It was heart-wrenching for all of our family members.”
Steve Hallenbeck: “We never expected that my son would have four grandparents attend his memorial service.”
The killer took James’ credit card and drivers’ license but left his cell phone behind.
At Christmas, his mother and father went to the neighborhood and passed out shortbread cookies with James’ face on them asking people if they knew anything about what happened.
“I wanted to give them something to incentivize them to talk, to call crime stoppers,” Carol said. “And to say we’re at your door. Please open the door and I’ll give you a cookie.”
Brean: “Did you get the sense that they did know something?”
Steve Hallenbeck: “No. There were a couple of people that actually heard the gun shots, they actually came out afterward and saw James. But none of them actually witnessed anything from what they’ve said.”
“We just have to get this murderer off the street, not just for justice for James, but for that neighborhood that has been traumatized living with a murderer,” Carol said.
Rochester Police want people to think back. After that gun shot did you see a car drive away? Have you noticed anyone acting strangely?
Please call crime stoppers with any information. You can remain anonymous. The number is 423-9300.
Hallenbeck played the keyboard for the band Eternal Crypt. The band’s first show since Hallenbeck’s death is on Saturday at the Bug Jar on Monroe Avenue. Doors open at 8 p.m. You can get tickets here.
On their Facebook, the band wrote:
In January we will be reuniting publicly for the first time since losing our brother in August. Joining us on keys will be Kaitlyn Fedele, who not only is a quality musician, but also knew James and is familiar with his approach to how he interpreted our songs. On Saturday, January 21st, please gather with us at the Bug Jar in celebration of our return.