Grandfather of Herbert Lee talks about deaths of four boys - News, Weather & Sports

Grandfather of Herbert Lee talks about deaths of four boys

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Herbert Lee, Sr. Herbert Lee, Sr.
Herbert Lee, Sr. & Chris 2X Herbert Lee, Sr. & Chris 2X
Herbert Lee during his trial Herbert Lee during his trial
Louisville, KY -

By Janelle MacDonald - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Call it a first step toward healing and the first step toward an extraordinary meeting between a Louisville teenager and the fathers of the four boys he's convicted of killing.

Herbert Lee, III, answered questions from the fathers of Demar, Jemar and Marc Claybrooks and their friend Aaron Shields and now, for the first time since the crash, Lee's family is answering our questions about what happened.

"My grandson didn't intend for this to happen," said Herbert Lee, Sr.

Lee, Sr., isn't making excuses for his grandson, who he calls Herb, now 18.

"I'm not condoning what he did, but I do take partial responsibility for even his actions," Lee, Sr. said. "I should have stayed on him more and this never would have happened."

He says in December 2008 when then-16-year-old Herb crashed a stolen car killing four boys, his grandson was troubled by an absent father

"They'll look for street gangs as a form of a family and Herb was just trying to get attention," Lee, Sr. said. "He wanted attention from his father."

After nearly two years behind bars, his grandfather said, "I've seen him mature a whole lot since this happened."

Perhaps evidence of that maturity: A meeting Monday at Louisville Metro Corrections on behalf of the fathers of the victims. Chris 2X talked with Lee, III, for 25 minutes, asking him the tough questions the young boys' fathers want answered. The questions ranged from if Lee thought he should have been charged with murder, to whether Lee would have still agreed to the meeting if he was facing the 20 to 40 years he could have gotten from a manslaughter conviction.

"He knows that he's guilty of causing the death of the four boys," 2X said, "and he would want to do anything that he could do possible as a young person and well into his adult years as he explained to me to just, 'Do whatever they would request of me, to try to help them heal.'"

Chris 2X says Marc Hampton and Frank Shields hope it's a step toward more than just healing, but forgiveness and not just for them, but also for other members of their families who are outraged lee will spend only two years behind bars.

"What they want to do is step up and be the examples of strong men, to say that, 'If we can embrace him and try to work with him, everybody else can at least attempt to watch our example,'" 2X said. "Frank Shields said, and I think he said it best, that, 'I'm even more committed now because what else do I got? I lost Aaron and if I can come back and help reshape a life, it's like creating a life all over again.'"

2X says Lee, III, plans on writing letters to both the Claybrooks and Shields families, asking for forgiveness as a next step and once he's released, then maybe a face to face meeting.

Because the jury convicted him of four counts of manslaughter, not four counts of murder, Lee will be sentenced in juvenile court. That means Lee could be released at his sentencing in December or be held until April, at the very latest.

Lee, Sr. says when his grandson gets out of custody, his entire family -- including his father -- will "stay on him" to keep him on the right road.  He says Lee, III, got his GED while behind bars and his family plans to help him enroll in college when he's released.

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