LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – The man accused of killing a 12-year-old boy in Cherokee Park pleaded not guilty Friday. But Joseph Cambron, 21, has faced claims of victimizing children for years, even while in state custody.
Elisha and Chad Isom couldn't find the words to tell their now 7-year-old daughter that the man accused of killing 12-year-old Ray Etheridge was their downstairs neighbor at Pennecook Apartments in Pleasure Ridge Park one year ago.
The same Joseph Cambron whom, she had claimed, tried to molest her.
"She was mad," Elisha Isom said. "She was angry and she was sad because a little boy died."
Cambron had seemed odd from the moment they first met him, the Isoms said. But an incident on June 5, 2013 turned concern to outrage.
"We were looking for her and her friend told us she was with him," Chad Isom said Friday. "Took her in his room, laid on the bed wouldn't let her leave until she heard us calling for her and looking for her outside."
Isoms said Cambron denied any wrongdoing when he was confronted.
"She's right there in his face, she's crying, she's telling me that he's lying," Chad Isom said.
"I just wanted her to explain what had happened and get it out there," Elisha Isom said.
The case would come to trial this August. The Commonwealth Attorney had no physical evidence, but the girl's testimony described Cambron's bedroom, from the carpet to the games, Prosecutor Leland Hulbert said.
"She further described the defendant throwing knives at the wall while she was in there," Hulbert wrote via email.
Cambron chose not to testify. Rather, prosecutors presented some of the statements he made to investigators prior to and following his arrest.
"Both statements had too much information that the jury, by the Court's ruling, was not allowed to hear," Hulbert wrote. "Hence, rather than playing the statements, the detective and I picked out pieces of his statement and we read those pieces of his statement to the jury."
They weren't enough. The jury found Cambron not guilty.
"They turned it all on us as the parents and the financial state we were in at the time," Chad Isom said. "The apartment manager took Cambron's side, said we were out for money."
The Pennacook's manager confirmed only that Cambron had once been a resident, but would not say whether he moved out on his own or was evicted.
The Isoms say they've moved on, literally and figuratively, but Ray's death keeps his family in their thoughts.
"We really just want them to know we tried," Chad Isom said. "We tried to stop anything like this from happening to anybody else."
Visitation services for Ray will take place Monday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Scott Funeral Home in Jeffersonville. The funeral immediately follows.
A youth prayer circle in remembrance of Ray will also be held on Oct. 6 outside Trinity Church in Jeffersonville.
The Isoms said they are planning to attend Ray's vigil.