Emotions were raw for the parents of Daniel Rowe on Tuesday as they came face to face for the first time with the man accused of killing their son.
Erron Coleman made his first appearance before a judge on his murder charge.
Daniel Rowe was shot to death and his wallet was stolen a year ago while he was taking out the trash at Blind Rabbit in Riverside.
His father, Steven Rowe, said he had a disturbing realization on Monday, after the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced that it had arrested Coleman in Daniel Rowe’s murder.
He said that after the attack, he and his wife, Raelyn Rowe, went door to door in the neighborhood, looking for answers. They now realize that they knocked on Coleman’s front door.
Coleman lived across the street from Blind Rabbit.
“We didn’t even know it. No one answered the door when we knocked. But we put fliers on the door. And it’s unnerving to think that he was so close to where he took a life,” said Steven Rowe.
Raelyn Rowe couldn’t hold back her emotions when Coleman stood in front of a judge Tuesday morning.
“It was just very overwhelming to see him for the first time,” said Raelyn Rowe. “When we started this and had so few details, we really didn’t think that we would ever have a face to put with it.”
A young woman sitting near them in the jail courtroom made a pained sound when the judge told Coleman that he would be held without bond.
She did not want to answer Action News Jax’s questions about Coleman.
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Coleman was already in jail, accused of burglary.
JSO said a fellow inmate worked with officers and secretly recorded Coleman confessing to Daniel Rowe’s murder.
Coleman is a 12-time convicted felon.
JSO said the 25-year-old is also suspected in the armed robbery of a woman three blocks from Blind Rabbit in March.
“It makes no sense to me – no sense to me that he was out walking the streets to begin with. And if we were tougher on it, he never would have walked the streets and I would still have my son,” said Raelyn Rowe.
JSO said a Crime Stoppers tip months ago implicated Coleman in Daniel Rowe’s death.
First Coast Crime Stoppers executive director Wyllie Hodges said the tipster has not yet called back to collect his $13,000 reward.
“Most of the people that call us are calling because they want to solve a crime. They want to do the right thing. We actually get a lot of people, close to 50 percent, that never pick up their rewards,” said Hodges.
Hodges said Tuesday that no one had called in any tips about a second person believed to have been involved in Rowe’s death, whom JSO director of investigations Tom Hackney said is still at large.
Cox Media Group