Like a tale out of a complicated romance novel, two young lovers will share a common day one last time.
One will face a judge while the other’s family, friends and former teammates celebrate her death and 21st birthday.
On Jan. 18, Starquineshia Palmer and public defender Steven Been will stand before a judge to update the city on her case. The case will be held at 9 a.m. in courtroom 3A of the Tallahassee Courthouse. Palmer, 21, is charged with first-degree murder after fatally stabbing Florida A&M shooting guard/forward Shannon Washington with a steak knife in September.
The 5’ll star basketball player made a lasting impression on teammate Jamie Foreman. Washington was killed in the week she transferred to FAMU from Illinois Valley Community College.
Foreman recalls Washington running an extra lap with her during practice.
"Shannon had finished running her laps," Foreman said. "She ran with me to keep me motivated. I’m a freshman so that meant a lot to me."
Head coach LeDawn Gibson has known Washington since she was a preteen. She was shocked to find out Palmer’s case is on Washington’s birthday.
"Shannon was a great player and leader," Gibson said before pausing to continue. "She always had a smile on her face."
According to Palmer’s statement in her police report, the two had been dating for three years and had plans of living together in Tallahassee. Those plans came to a halt shortly after midnight Sep. 4, 2011.
Palmer, who was visiting Washington for the weekend, stated the two had been arguing all day. The subject matter of their arguments has not been revealed. Their verbal disagreements quickly turned violent when Washington tried to choke Palmer.
According to the police report, before killing Washington, Palmer phoned her mother apologizing and asking her to take care of her children.
Nina Brown, 19, a sophomore business administration student from Deerfield, Fl, stayed below Washington’s apartment in University Courtyard. She was awakened by Palmer shrilling, "I killed Shannon!"
"I looked outside and saw an ambulance and police officers," Brown said. "The officers went upstairs and brought down a girl who was yelling ‘Ya’ll don’t know what that girl did to me!’ She started crying terribly and saying ‘Oh my god, oh my god!’ That morning I received texts about what happened."
The two-time All-American was pronounced dead at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
Memories are all the team has from the short week they knew her. To keep Washington’s memory alive, they chant "2-4" before leaving huddles during games. Gibson said the team is a family and discusses her death together. The team plans to get Washington’s number embroidered on their jerseys.
"Her death was too soon," Foreman said. "We were just getting to know each other. I wish it never happened."