Life in prison in 2011 Easter Sunday killing

Life in prison without parole for the man who killed their son was no solace for Joel and Cherlynne Seay.

Nothing will replace their 18-year-old son Jarell, who was shot to death in front of his father on Easter Sunday in 2011 by 23-year-old Julian Frisby.

"Nobody won here," said Joel Seay, of West Philadelphia. "We have lost our son, and the Frisbys have lost theirs. That's two more black men that could have made a difference for our community. We have to wake up and support these young men."

Frisby was sentenced Friday to the mandatory life sentence without parole after a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury on Thursday found him guilty of first-degree murder. His first trial last year ended in a hung jury.

Before being formally sentenced by Judge Barbara McDermott, Frisby said he felt sorry for the Seay family but insisted he was innocent.

Frisby argued that he was not among the group of teens who knocked on the front door of the Seay family home on North 55th Street shortly after the Seays finished Easter dinner. Jarell's father answered the door and had words with a young man outside. When Jarell joined his father on the porch, the caller shot Jarell dead.

Assistant District Attorney Deborah Watson-Stokes said the evidence - including Joel Seay's testimony - convinced the jury that Frisby was the gunman. Watson-Stokes said investigators are continuing to look at a possible accomplice - a man in prison in an unrelated case - but no charges have been filed.

Jarell Seay was apparently the mistaken target of a dispute between two rival corner gangs. He was not involved with either group.

On Friday, Joel and Cherlynne Seay seemed still in mourning for the son who was to take over his father's construction business.

"As big as he was, he still told us every night that he loved us," said Cherlynne Seay.

Joel Seay said he still is not fully at work at his business after Jarell's murder.

"This really hit me," he said.

Still, the Seays have founded a nonprofit - the Jarell Christopher Seay Love and Laughter Foundation ( - and are trying to create something positive out of their grief.

The foundation is raising money for programs to combat violence and gun crimes and has events planned through November, including a Day of Reflection Peace Rally and a Bowling for Peace fund-raiser in April.

The foundation has already sponsored one teen to math, reading and basketball camp at the Friends Central school, supplied 300 children with backpacks stuffed with school supplies, and hosted 90 families at a Memorial Day weekend in Wildwood.

"We intend to do something to wake people up to stop the killing," Joel Seay said.

215-854-2985 @joeslobo