A Springfield billboard is asking the community for one thing: Don’t forget Cobey Etherington.
Etherington, 19, was killed in the city’s first fatal shooting earlier this year.
He was in the passenger seat of a car when he was shot in the chest on West Mulberry Street in February. He later died from his injuries.
Teddi Litteral, Etherington’s mom, said she and some others contributed money to take out a billboard located on East North Street. It features a collage of pictures of Etherington with the phrase “Justice for Cobey” in yellow lettering.
“Even though he’s gone, I don’t want him to ever be forgotten,” she said.
Litteral has been in contact with Mandy Cole, the mother of 15-year-old William Allen “B.J.” Beverly Jr. The idea for Etherington’s billboard was inspired by another billboard that featured Beverly, who was shot and killed in November. Litteral said Cole reached out to her after Etherington’s death and gave her information about taking out an ad.
“We kind of developed a friendship because of the situation with both of our kids,” Litteral said. “It’s a circle of women who have all went through this same tragic thing just in the last few months.”
Beverly was shot at the Speedway gas station on East Main Street in November. A Clark County Grand Jury voted unanimously not to indict the man who shot Beverly based on a reasonable belief that his life was in danger. The man later said he wants the family to know he’s sorry.
A billboard at the corner of East Main Street and South Florence Street near where Beverly was shot asks people to “STOP the violence.”
Cole said she will take out another billboard every year on Beverly’s birthday, Nov. 9.
Beverly’s and Etherington’s billboards sit less than a mile apart.
Litteral said she wanted Beverly and Etherington’s billboards to be right next to each other, but she hopes people will still understand the connection.
It is more than two months since her son’s death, and she said she’s frustrated by a lack of closure.
At this time, police couldn’t give any new updates on the case. Currently, no one has been formally charged in connection with the shooting.
“It’s something I’ll never be able to understand or get past,” she said.
Litteral still attends Clark State, where she and her son were students. But she had to drop the business math class they had together because the pain was overwhelming.
“I carry Cobey’s hoodie everywhere that I go — so when I go to school, he still goes with me,” she said. “I sit his shirt there the whole time that I’m in class.”
Litteral has several mementos to remind her of Etherington. But she hopes the billboard will remind others.
“My son was too important to be just another person who was killed,” she said. “He deserves justice.”
Litteral said the billboard will stay up until May 17 or until another person rents the space.