It’s been 16 years … and we have never forgotten ~~~~~
“It was utterly senseless then. It is utterly senseless now,” says Chief Assistant State Attorney Randy McGruther, who prosecuted the case. “They killed a teacher so they didn’t get turned in to a school resource officer for vandalism.”
Whether it was panic or the ultimate overreaction, one person died, four lives were ruined and countless others shattered.
The ruthless and callous murder of Riverdale High School band director Mark Schwebes, 32, traveled the globe in national magazines and on tabloid TV shows.
“I have been involved in prison ministry for the past four-plus years and am a local pastor now,” says Pat Schwebes ——, the victim’s sister who lives near Atlanta.
“I do not know why these young people do the things they do, but I know that I am called to respond with mercy, justice, called accountability, and love of God.”
The LOC (Lords of Chaos) reign of terror — vandalism, robberies, carjacking arson and murder — lasted less than a month, but resulted in one death sentence, two life sentences without parole and one 32-year sentence.
APRIL 30, 1996
Kevin Foster, the leader of the LOC and nicknamed “God,” was a Riverdale High dropout.
Peter Magnotti, Chris Black and Derek Shields were followers, who Foster magnetized into a “vortex of blood lust and arson,” according to former Lee Sheriff John McDougall.
“Foster had the weapons. He had no parental control. He had no curfew,” McDougall says. “He was like the big man on campus even though he wasn’t on campus.”
He led; they followed.
“Foster was different than the other three,” McGruther says. “I think he was evil.”
The senselessness started insignificantly the last night of Schwebes’ life.
Schwebes was leaving a social for incoming freshmen when he saw Black and LOC fringe member Tom Torrone with rubber gloves and cans of peaches. They planned to throw the cans through the auditorium windows.
Schwebes took the evidence and told the boys to expect a visit from the school resource officer the next morning.
When Foster huddled the LOC at a nearby shopping mall, Black was livid. He tossed out the idea of killing Schwebes — “He’s gotta die” — and the others quickly embraced it.
And we never will ….
Mark Charles Schwebes
October 7, 1963 ~ April 30, 1996