Don’t blame God for what happened on that terrible night two weeks ago at a Robbins home, when a mother and two of her teenage children were shot to death by her husband.
Instead, Pastor Douglas Moye Sr. told the 1,300 mourners who attended their funeral Friday, place the blame on a darker, evil force.
“Every life that leaves this world, God didn’t do it. God had nothing to do with this. This is the devil’s doing,” Moye said at the start of the funeral for Michelle Ollie Roe, 42, and two of her children, Steven Roe, 17, and Trisdion “Trish” Worsham, 16. “No born-again believer kills.”
After Moye’s statement, murmurs of appreciation and a few “amens” echoed through Holy Temple Cathedral Church, 15921 S. Lincoln Ave., Harvey.
For reasons that remain unknown, Michael Worsham, of Robbins, shot and killed his wife, Michelle; their son, Steven; and their daughter, Trisdion, on Feb. 2 before police found him dead on his bed, authorities said. His cause of death remains uncertain pending toxicology results, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
Two other children, Worsham’s 14-year old stepson and that teen’s 5-year old nephew, were able to escape unharmed from the house in the 13600 block of Pulaski Road.
The boy escaped after a struggle with his stepfather in which he tried to disarm him. During the struggle, authorities said, Worsham told him that he could leave alive if he stopped fighting.
The boy grabbed the 5-year-old, and as they fled, Trisdion joined them. But she collapsed on the front stoop when Worsham shot her in the back, police said. Seconds later, Worsham shot her again at close range, and then fired at least one round at witnesses outside before dragging his daughter’s body back inside the home.
On Friday, in a touching moment near the end of the funeral, Spencer Leak Sr., patriarch of the Leak & Sons Funeral Chapels, which handled the arrangements, said he was impressed by the teenage boy’s heroism.
“This is Black History Month, and I want you to know when I celebrate black history for the years that God has given me, for the rest of my life, I will remember this young man. He’s a hero,” Leak said, comparing the boy to Nelson Mandela and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Thank God for this special way God has used him.”
Leak, a trustee at Chicago State University, then promised the boy a full scholarship there. The congregation erupted in a standing ovation.
Leak and Moye were among several speakers during the two-hour funeral service that was preceded by a one-hour wake.
Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward said he was impressed by the family’s strength in such a trying time. The village and Shepard High School have been collecting funds to pay for the three burials, he said, with any remaining money to survivors.
“There’s a reason this family has brought all of us together. We may not know it yet, but there’s a reason,” Ward said. “Your presence here is a testimony without anything being said. We know this family is in the Lord’s hands now.”
Chris Harris, a family friend since 2008, called Michelle “a devoted mother of five children.”
“She was a God-fearing woman who saw good in everybody, a true role model,” Harris said. “I always saw kids going in and out of the household. She had the kindest heart of anyone I’ve known. Michelle’s home was always filled with family and friends.”
Harris had to compose himself a few times, but had the church laughing when he recalled how “Steve loved to tell silly jokes.”
A large group of Shepard High School students attended the funeral. Steven and Trisdion both attended the high school in Palos Heights. Dozens of their classmates, near the end of the service, crowded around the coffins when Moye asked them to step forward and accept Jesus as their personal savior to be “born again.”
One who stepped forward, Shepard junior Macryan Caballero, 17, recalled Steven as “a nice student and a fun-loving kid.”
“He always brightened up my day. It’s going to be quiet (at school),” said Caballero, who attended Kolmar Elementary School with Steven.
Margaret Dorsey, of Chicago, worked with Michelle at Waterford Manor across the street from the family’s home.
“She was a great person. Kind-hearted. One who helped everybody,” Dorsey said. “It was a real nice service.”
After the funeral, Ward said Robbins police are still investigating the case as they try to determine a motive.
“There’s a lot of speculation out there. We have some other information that’s come in recently. I really can’t say yet what that is, but for sure they’re still working very hard on it,” Ward said of detectives.
The village of Robbins “is in mourning,” he said, “but we use it to strengthen us and build a better Robbins.”
“I’ve seen a lot of coming together out of this. It’s been a tragic situation, but it’s been good for unification purposes,” Ward said.
During the wake, mourners filed past the white coffins of Michelle, Steven and Trisdion. A poster board by each coffin displayed pictures from happier times. Large displays of red, pink and white flowers sat atop each coffin.
A man handed facial tissue to women and men who wept as they quietly walked past the coffins. One woman was seen dashing to the parking lot as she sobbed, her hands over her mouth.
During the wake, Moye asked those there “to not dwell on loss which magnifies the pain” and urged them to instead “dwell on what you gained by knowing these lives.” That, he said would help minimize the pain they are feeling.
Mother, son and daughter were laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetery, 115th Street and Fairfield Avenue, Chicago.