Philadelphia News & Search
Not a seat was available inside St. Paul’s Baptist Church, and afterward school buses shuttled mourners to a parking lot. It was so packed Friday for the funeral for Bianca Roberson, the 18-year-old victim of what police say was a road-rage murder, her brother said, that a reception room was opened to handle the overflow.
And on the faces of parents Michelle and Rodney Roberson Sr., “you saw tears of joy and pain,” said Loretta Porter, an in-law relative.
During the 90-minute service, among those who paid the victim tribute were her brothers; officials from Bayard Rustin High School, from which she had just graduated; an admissions officer from Jacksonville University, which she was to attend in the fall, and numerous friends, according to a funeral program and service attendees. All members of the media were barred from the church.
“I think her best friend’s memories touched me the most,” Porter said. “Her best friend really drove it home … how [Bianca] touched so many people.”
For Porter, the brothers’ speeches also were powerful, especially when they spoke of “the coward who stole their sister away from them.”
Representing the high school, Ayisha Smith talked about how when a classmate got sick at the senior prom, Bianca Roberson cut her night short to help.
The service concluded with a rendition of “Amazing Grace” from the West Chester Area School District’s string ensemble and a “message of hope” from the Rev. Wayne E. Croft.
Porter said Croft stressed that children are “gifts from God” who are on “borrowed time” on Earth.
“I know she sits with the angels today,” Porter said.
In a drenching downpour, mourners had filed into St. Paul’s during the morning for the viewing.
Across the street, TV cameras and satellite trucks formed a phalanx on a hilly patch of grass, lenses fixed on the church.
After the funeral, those who attended hugged and laughed in the parking lot, in front of a pink-flower-covered hearse. Two yellow school buses shuttled attendees to a nearby parking lot. And a line of cars processed out toward Frazer, where Roberson was set to be buried at Philadelphia Memorial Park.
Dasiah Shaw, 22, of Yeadon, Delaware County, said the service reminded her of all the lessons she learned from Bianca, her friend and co-worker at the White Horse Village senior complex.
“Live life to the fullest. Always tell loved ones you love them,” Shaw said. “Tomorrow is not promised.”
Meanwhile, Bianca’s alleged assailant, David Desper, 28, of Trainer, Delaware County, is scheduled before Chester County Judge William D. Kraut at 9 a.m. on Thursday. Desper remained jailed without bail on Friday.
After the viewing, the service was to begin at 11 a.m.
Meanwhile, a preliminary hearing for
Desper is charged with first-degree murder in what police say was a road-rage killing on June 28 on the Route 100 bypass.
Philadelphia News & Search