A Philadelphia church community came together Sunday morning to celebrate the life of an Overbrook father who was murdered while walking his dog.
Loved ones and local leaders gathered at the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia to remember James Stuhlman. Attendees planted and blessed a new tree on the grounds in his honor.
Stuhlman, 51, was walking his dog along Woodcrest Avenue on March 12 when he was shot and killed by two teen boys during a robbery, police said. During Sunday’s event, Stuhlman’s brother Michael read a poem and shared his own memories.
“Jim’s legacy to all of us lives on in our hearts and our minds in our family just by the way that he lived,” Michael Stuhlman said. “And that’s all that any of us can hope to leave.”
Tyfine Hamilton and Brandon Smith, both 15, face murder, robbery and other related charges in Stuhlman’s death. A 14-year-old boy is also facing robbery and conspiracy charges for his alleged role in the crime though police say he was only a witness to the murder.
The teens were playing basketball when they decided to rob a man, investigators said. The boys picked Stuhlman as their target because he looked old and his dog appeared "weak," according to investigators.
Stuhlman pleaded for his life, saying "please don't shoot me," before he was shot once in the chest, according to Philadelphia Homicide Captain James Clark.
When officers arrived on the scene, the dog's leash was still in the man's hand and his pet was lying by his side, police said.
Smith was arrested a week after the fatal shooting while Hamilton's father helped negotiate his son's arrest, sources told NBC10. The teens are scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on April 29.
Stuhlman is survived by his daughter, wife and six siblings.