Daughter's rape, killing in 1984 haunts parents
Convict faces lethal injection Tuesday
Sunday, September 13, 2009 3:34 AM
By Thomas J. Sheeran
(caption) Bessye Middleton holds a painting of her daughter, Tryna, who was raped and fatally stabbed on Sept. 21, 1984. The 14-year-old was walking home after a football game.
Romell Broom faces execution for the abduction, rape and killing of Tryna Middleton.
EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It's been 25 years, and the painful memories linger of the day that Bessye Middleton's 14-year-old daughter was raped and stabbed to death.
Tryna Middleton was abducted at knifepoint on Sept. 21, 1984, while she was walking home from a Friday night football game with two friends.
The man convicted of her murder, Romell Broom, is scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday.
"It's been 25 years, and the pain has gotten a little bit better, but there is not a single day that I don't get up and think about her during some point in the day," said Bessye Middleton, 65.
Tryna's father, David Middleton, a retired auto worker, won't drive down the street where his daughter was abducted, and for years, he became nauseated on returning to a home filled with memories. Bessye Middleton will drive down the street where her daughter was taken only when she heads to church on Sundays.
On the day of the murder, Broom followed the girls in a slow-moving car. They sensed something wasn't right and turned up a different street to get home, Bessye Middleton said.
But Broom, who was familiar with the neighborhood, apparently guessed their detour and was waiting for them. He raped Tryna Middleton and stabbed her seven times, according to the attorney general's office.
Broom's preying on girls eventually caught up with him.
Three months later, Broom forced an 11-year-old girl into his car, but the victim's mother thwarted his escape by running after the car, which was stuck on ice, and yelling to her daughter to jump out.
Broom, 53, has a criminal record dating to when he was 13, including robbery, car theft and the rape in 1975 of his niece's 12-year-old baby sitter. He served 8 1/2 years of a seven- to 25-year rape sentence and was paroled four months before Tryna was killed.
"It's not that you want somebody's life to be taken from them, but he's trying to beat the system," she said in an even tone. "We had to suffer. He's had 25 years longer than her."