Tuesday, September 25, 2012

(Posted on behalf of Jack Gilbride, an excerpt from his book "A Fathers Sacrifice") Dear: Zack: Your father wanted to offer you the opportunity for you to be your own man someday and to decide for yourself the type of life that you would someday live. Your father and I had many discussions in which he told me how much he wanted to be with you but could not because your mother refused for you and your father to be alone together. Your father realized that if you were to be together with him, your mothers plans for your future would be threatened because you would see other views of the world that she did not approve of — views that most normal people are exposed to as children. I remember the last time you and I were together. We were talking together in the family room of your home in Cherry Hill, sitting in a chair across from each other. I reminded you that you, your father and I all have the same blood — that we are in the same true family. I explained to you that you have a large family outside of this home that want to meet you someday. However, your mother has disallowed it because you might decide for yourself to pursue a life differently from the one she wants for you. During the past couple of years, I have had the time to review the short life you had with your father. What your father wanted for you, your mother, and for himself was a life separate from MOVE, which is why he moved your family to Cherry Hill. Unfortunately, that was impossible. Your father had the courage to do things, which someday I hope you will eventually have the same courage to do. No matter what I have written here, you will never completely understand what your father went through because of his love for you. You are a miracle child, and that is not a term I use lightly. The reason I have written this book is that I do not want you to ever doubt that your father loved you. I have two goals for this book. One is for you to know that your father loved you. Second, my goal is to explain what he did for you, considering the suffering he went through because he would never let go of you. Thus, MOVE attacked him, his family, and his place of work. As for you, please seek the truth when you are old enough to do so. Love, Grandpa, John Gilbride

This sign was posted outside the New Jersey office of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I think it is quite emblematic of what MOVE is now and always has been

Thursday, September 20, 2012

More on John Gilbride Murder

(From Philly.com) by Monica Yant Kinney Last of two parts. All unsolved murders are inherently mysterious, but that of John Gilbride remains extra-curious, since he was shot dead hours before a court-ordered visit with the son his ex-wife, MOVE matriarch Alberta Africa, vowed not to let him see. Most custody battles never make headlines. MOVE, the West Philadelphia cult famous for two deadly confrontations with police, spent the weeks before John was killed fortifying its headquarters and lambasting him as a bad dad. John was 34 when he was gunned down inside his Crown Vic in the parking lot of a Maple Shade apartment complex called Ryan's Run. The killer fired an automatic weapon through the window. Bullets ravaged his head and chest. Sept. 27 marks the 10-year anniversary of John's violent demise. Investigators have never named a suspect or released ballistics information. In 2003, Burlington County Prosecutor Robert Bernardi told me MOVE members were interviewed but offered no helpful information. "There is still this problem with the timing of this homicide given what was pending in the custody dispute," Bernardi said back then. "Is that a coincidence, or is there something more to it?" I tried for months to get another sit-down with Bernardi and sought the reflections of investigators who have pulled thread anonymously for a decade. He declined all requests and just released a bland written statement: "Somebody out there has knowledge of what transpired the night John Gilbride was slain. I implore that person to come forward and assist us in bringing his killer to justice." A father's risk In 1992, John married Alberta, an ex-con 20 years older. In 1996, the 48-year-old gave birth to Zack. In 1998, John fled MOVE and his marriage, aware of the risk. "I was told," he said in 1999 divorce papers, "my attitude toward my wife was going to cause a situation that would involve my death." On Aug. 27, 2002, a domestic dispute between John and Alberta at her home led to John's summoning the Cherry Hill police. On Sept. 9, 2002, the exes aired grievances in Camden County Family Court. "John was not pushin' because he wanted Zack," Alberta testified. "He was pushin' because he knew that MOVE belief would not allow me to give him Zack." Her ex-husband, Alberta contended, intended to "drive me and Zackary into a situation where we're confronted with cops and court orders and warrants. And he knows because of 1985, May 13 in 1985, he knows what a situation like that could cause." (For the uninitiated, she was referencing the armed standoff that led officials to bomb MOVE's West Philadelphia base, killing 11 members and destroying 60 homes.) John, meanwhile, told the Family Court judge that during the August quarrel, a MOVE supporter named Mario Hardy stepped in to defend Alberta and issued a fresh threat: "Move and I'll kill you." A week later, on Sept. 17, 2002, MOVE posted a statement citing "dangerous developments" and urged supporters to do anything "in their power to do to avert this government assault." Ten days later, John was dead. Leads or conspiracy theories? Afterward, MOVE questioned whether John was killed by the government - if he was even dead. A Philadelphia police liaison to MOVE speculated that John, who traveled and frequented casinos, was slain over a gambling debt. Another curiosity concerned John's secret, and brief, second marriage to Rosario Bienvenida Arias, a 24-year-old casino dealer from the Dominican Republic. They wed in Maryland on April 25, 2002, but, according to the annulment John initiated May 19, she used him and then fled the country. The marriage had not been nullified by the time John died, so as his widow, Arias - not Zack - collected death benefits. Mario Hardy long ago declined to comment on John's charge. MOVE sent an e-mail last week calling my interview request a "new assault." John's father, Jack Gilbride, says investigators told him they ruled out a mob hit and cleared the mystery wife, but Bernardi will neither confirm nor deny that information. Ten years of silence In 2009, America's Most Wanted filmed interviews about John's murder. The episode never aired. In 2010, Burlington County investigators sought the expertise of the Vidocq Society, acclaimed sleuths known for thawing cold cases. John's family was barred from watching the presentation, and the county forbade Vidocq members from sharing their theories with me. Law enforcement sources elsewhere puzzle over Bernardi's refusal to engage or publicize the investigation. That silence, they say, is a missed opportunity. This summer, investigators sought to interview a former MOVE supporter who could be a source of information, but the man skipped the scheduled appointment. Jack Gilbride perked up at the thought of investigators pursuing new leads, but he remains concerned that hesitation or missteps a decade ago allowed a killer to roam free. "The first 48 hours are the most important," so why, he asks, did it take detectives "seven weeks to talk to Alberta Africa?" Gilbride thinks back to his son's warnings. "I believe," he concludes, "that this investigation has been extremely and negatively impacted by MOVE's intimidation."

Monday, September 17, 2012

MOVE Asked For An Interview..Responds with letter aimed to intimidate

(The following was posted online by Monica Yant Kinney. It is apparently a response to her request for an interview. I think it does a fine job of highlighting the fact that MOVE wishes to intimidate people into not daring to ask any questions about John Gilbride, his murder, and what is being done to the child that he had with cult leader, Alberta Africa) In the interest of transparency, I am posting the entire 790-word email I received Friday night from a sender purporting to be from the MOVE organization. The email arrived a week after I left a letter for MOVE matriarch Alberta Africa asking to speak with her and her teenage son, Zack, about the 10-year anniversary of the murder of his father, Africa's ex-husband, John Gilbride. The first of two columns on the case Sunday. (Please note: This email is reprinted exactly as received, complete with typographical and grammatical errors.) The Move Organization got your letter. How much is the gov. and the Gilbrides paying you for this new assault on Alberta Africa and her child? You think weʼre stupid,we know what youʼre trying to do. You think she raised her child to be alienated from his father and his fatherʼs family, but youʼre wrong; which is no surprise, you been, and still are wrong about a lot of things when it comes to Alberta Africa. You donʼt think itʼs people like you, the courts and the Gilbrides whoʼs to blame for anything wrong that would cause alienation in her child, do you? Thatʼs your typical racist, bigoted, superior attitude, and you are a racist. You want to assume the worse when it comes to Alberta as a mother just because sheʼs black. You ainʼt got no sense of fairness or equality: if it ainʼt white, it ainʼt right. Right Monica? All yʼall been waiting for Albertaʼs son to grow up, so, as you see it, heʼd be able to speak for himself, as you claim; but we know better. We know it would be you doing the dictating to him, pushing him to do things your way that ainʼt got nothing to do with his interests (just like yʼall did to his father). You want to be able to control him, lure him away from Move and misuse him for your own designs. Thatʼs why you wrote that letter to Alberta, you trying to set the stage for your dirty work and you so full of yourself you think you can get past Move, think we wonʼt see through your lies and deceit. You think you gonna get your hands on this young boy and trick his mind up, convince him to leave his mother, his home and follow your influence. Who the hell do you think you are? Why is it so important to you anyway for Albertaʼs son, not your son, Albertaʼs son to know about his father. What do you know about Albertaʼs son, his life, how heʼs being raised. What makes you think he donʼt know about his father, and why the hell are you hallucinating that he needs you, of all people, to tell him about his father. What credentials do you have: did you know John Gilbride personally? Was he your husband, is his son your son, did you live in his sonʼs home while the child was growing up.....No you didnʼt. In fact, you donʼt know anything at all because you donʼt know John, Alberta or their son, and thatʼs the truth! Youʼre just proving our point that you got a sneaky, underhanded agenda here, and it ainʼt got nothing to do with this childʼs interests. This whole thing is just another approach, mimicking the custody case of 1998. All these years, and here you are in 2012 still trying to mess with this childʼs life; like you didnʼt mess with him enough when he was a baby, in 1998. You ainʼt gonna get away with it though, nothings changed, you didnʼt get away with it then and you wonʼt get away with it now. You like a damn terminator, a monster....but understand this: Move donʼt never back down or give up. We always on guard to keep our family protected. If this situation with you people trying to take this child away from his family wasnʼt so serious, that nonsense you wrote Alberta would be ludicrous! You donʼt know nothing about how this child was raised and you donʼt know nothing about how he feels about his father; and further more, it ainʼt none of your damn business how he feels about his father. You need to be more concerned about how your child feels about you. You need to get a life. You donʼt care nothing about Albertaʼs child and you know it. You donʼt even care about your own child; if you did youʼd be occupied with your child and not preoccupied with meddling in Albert Africaʼs childʼs life. For real, you just trying to do a job you been paid to do, but you need to back off and crawl back in that hole you slithered out of. Youʼre a pathetic person. You ainʼt no real woman; a real woman would never try to hurt a child, under no circumstances, but you!? You ainʼt got no compunction. Despite all your so call credentials and your superficial posturing as a so call decent, respectable woman and mother, you ainʼt really nothing but a loser Monica. Itʼs sad but itʼs your problem and Move didnʼt cause it, so stop spitting it on us. Ona Move The Move Organization “The power of truth is final Long Live John Africa” -- Monica Yant Kinney

Zack Gilbride Lost In MOVE?

(From Philly.com) Jack Gilbride's memoir, A Father's Sacrifice, is written for an audience of one: his grandson, Zack, the only child of John Gilbride, who was murdered in 2002 during a bitter custody fight. The manuscript contains 109,971 words aimed at a 16-year-old living in Cherry Hill. "My sole purpose," the author says, "is for Zack to read this and have some understanding of what his father did for him." John Gilbride developed an unlikely fascination with MOVE, the West Philadelphia cult whose two violent standoffs with city officials resulted in the death of 11 MOVE members and one cop. He met Alberta Africa, 20 years his senior, while she served a seven-year prison term on riot charges. In 1992, John married the MOVE matriarch. The book chronicles John's tortured decision six years later to leave MOVE, his wife, and 2-year-old son, John Zackary, called Zack. John, Gilbride writes, was "subjected to the mental cruelty meted out by MOVE" and was "nearly paralyzed by an overwhelming sense of guilt and fear" as he broke free. "Every part of his being demanded he ignore his lawyer's advice and take his son and just disappear." But he didn't. A week ago, I knocked on Alberta's door hoping to interview her and Zack about the 10th anniversary of John's unsolved murder. A Volvo sat in the driveway, but no one answered. So I left a letter. Friday, "South Jersey Friends of MOVE" distributed statements accusing me and The Inquirer of "harassing" the group about the "supposed murder." An e-mail claiming to be from the MOVE organization arrived late Friday, accusing me and Gilbride of waiting for Zack to grow up to "lure him away ... and misuse him for your own designs." I've talked with Jack Gilbride regularly since his son was found shot to death in a Maple Shade parking lot on Sept. 27, 2002. There have been no arrests and no named suspects. I'll explore the case in depth Wednesday. After John's death, his parents drove frequently from Virginia to see Zack at Alberta's home in South Jersey. MOVE members were always present. They hovered and horned in on games, letting the 6-year-old win at Monopoly. "They lose to him on purpose [because] he's special," Gilbride told me at the time. "They're setting him up to be their leader." In a break from the group's separatist, antisocial ethos, this MOVE child took karate and tap dancing. He fenced and swam competitively. Before John was killed, Alberta and Zack talked to a reporter about his show-business ambition after winning a modeling contest. "I wanted to explore different avenues of opportunities that could possibly lead to a career later in his life," Alberta was quoted as saying. "My goal for him is to have a good life. I want him to be a gentleman." A royal birth In the book, Gilbride quotes John calling Zack's 1996 birth "the happiest day of my life." In the hospital, Alberta made an odd statement: "I have some Indian blood . . . that's probably why he looks so white." John's family learned Zack was conceived, contrary to MOVE's antitechnology belief, via in-vitro fertilization and an egg from a white donor. Alberta, Gilbride writes, wanted Zack "to look a certain way, talk a certain way." From day one, she "mapped out the child's future." The baby, Gilbride notes, was treated "like royalty." Peace, then dissent John and Alberta entertained his parents at dinners of leg of lamb and filet mignon at MOVE's Kingsessing headquarters. But in 1997, Alberta fled to Paris with Zack, citing threats from people who'd had a falling-out with MOVE. She stayed six months. John, who flew free thanks to his job at US Airways, visited 17 times. "Looking back, it was probably Alberta's foremost mistake," Gilbride writes. Without MOVE's "constant supervision," John's "critical thinking process resurfaced." John and Alberta bought the Cherry Hill home in 1998, a step John hoped would distance his family from MOVE. To his dismay, MOVE members descended. In a climactic scene, John returned from work late at night to find a group on his bed watching a movie. He asked them to leave, but they refused and Alberta did not intervene, so he raised his voice. "John crossed a line," Gilbride recalls. Challenging MOVE and yelling at Alberta was "unthinkable." The slight led to epic MOVE "meetings" at which John was berated and humiliated. John, Gilbride writes, "became totally convinced that Alberta would never choose him over MOVE." Reaching out from afar In a 2009 Philadelphia Daily News interview, Alberta called Zack a "happy" homeschooler active in swimming and fencing. He now goes by a different last name. His role in MOVE, if any, remains unknown. "He has a life," Alberta told that reporter. "I don't keep him locked up in here." Gilbride has not seen Zack since 2004, when he was grieving the loss of his wife. At their last visit, he reminded Zack: "You, your father, and I all have the same blood." They spoke periodically until 2010, Gilbride says, when, suddenly, MOVE "stopped putting him on the phone." He worries about Zack growing up with no knowledge of his extended family. Gilbride hopes A Father's Sacrifice lands in Zack's hands so the teenager can learn about the man who gave him life and a name before losing a bruising battle to raise him to think independently. "The more MOVE attacked John," Gilbride concludes, "the more he realized what they would do to Zack if he ever got out of line or wanted to do something different with his life." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Coming Wednesday: Part two on the unsolved murder of John Gilbride. Contact Monica Yant Kinney at 215-854-4670 , myant@phillynews.com or @myantkinney on Twitter.

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