Family and friends remember slain teen at Mesquite vigil

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on September 10, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 10 at 11:00 PM

MESQUITE — Candles and tears symbolized the pain and frustration following the heinous murder of 16-year-old Shania Gray.

A vigil at Horn High School in Mesquite, where Shania was recently a student, drew a crowd well into the hundreds Monday night, and it seemed no one could keep from crying.

If ever a question was asked that simply has no answer, Lenetta Ross asked it: "I mean, how can you do that? To a little girl. She was just 16. That's a baby," she said.

Shania Gray was a baby to her father, Dewayne James. He held on to Shania's mother and choked back tears as he shared a story with the sobbing crowd.

James said he and his daughter always joked about who was most popular. He would tell Shania that when he died, they would need two churches for his funeral.

"And she would say, 'Daddy you are gonna need two football fields for me!'" he said, struggling to maintain his composure.

Judging from the crowd, her response seems to be ringing true

"Thank all of you, thank all of you for showing up," James said. "It means a lot to me, my family... but most of all, it means a lot to Shania."

Here alleged killer, 30-year-old Franklin Davis, confessed to the murder during a jailhouse interview with WFAA. He had been accused of sexually assaulting Shania in 2011. The case was expected to go to trial next month.

The mourners didn't speak about Davis. They focused on Shania.

"The world's a lesser place without her," said a family friend.

As they closed in prayer, the pastor asked them to look to the sky.

"Look toward Shania," he said.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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