Film to probe Newark schoolyard murders' toll on family

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A documentary film project hopes to tell the story of one of the victims of Newark's notorious schoolyard slayings.

Iofemi (eye-OH'-fem-ee) Hightower was 20 and headed to Delaware State University in the summer of 2007 when she and three friends were attacked by six men and boys. Hightower and two others were killed, and one young woman survived being stabbed and shot.

The killings spurred anti-crime efforts in Newark that were credited with driving down the murder rate over the next few years.

Shalga Hightower attended years of trials as her daughter's killers were convicted or pleaded guilty. She also lost her job, suffered a breakdown and had to live in a shelter temporarily.

Hightower hopes the documentary will highlight the struggles of families who have been victimized by gun violence.