Father reflects two years after son's murder in Athens


Steve and Benjamin Lloyd Cloer

By Steve Cloer

Today, November 10th 2021, marks the second anniversary of the unimaginable loss of my son Benjamin Lloyd Cloer.

No one can understand the grieving that a parent goes through as a result of this kind of horrific loss of their child. Losing a child is the most intense emotional pain a person can experience. Lloyd’s family and friends are changed people forever. The life we had known will never exist again. We are all in a prison of our own due to the actions of (murder defendant Winford) Adams. There are no release dates and no parole for us. It's a life sentence. None of us will ever be right in our hearts, heads or souls again. We are trying to live our lives trying to endure the damage Adams has done to us. We go to bed each night hoping we'll wake up in the morning and find out that it was all a dream.

People in our position need to feel confident that they have fearless, thick skinned, experienced and capable advocates in the District Attorney’s Office on their side that can handle any aspect of the situation competently, fearlessly and flawlessly with compassion and empathy.

As I’ve indicated before, time is of no concern for Lloyd’s family. The paramount matter is that my son receives his due justice regardless of the time it takes to do so completely and effectively. Nothing needs to be spared in the prosecution of my son's murderer.

Thank you all for your efforts.

If you haven’t had much experience with this type of criminal case and you want to serve the community more effectively, you might want to become aware of just a few things parents of a murdered child go through: * Getting a call from a hospital saying your son is in the operating room and in critical condition, to get there as fast as you can. That’s all they tell you. You are over 100 miles away and out of gas.

* To arrive at the hospital and have a doctor tell you, “I’m sorry, but your son didn’t survive.” Survive what? What happened? This can’t be real.

* You have been told only that he has been shot. You are led to a post operating room and see your son covered with a sheet except for his head. He looks like he is sleeping. You lift the sheet to see what someone has done to him. He has been cut open from his crotch to the middle of his chest. You walk out of the room and someone asks you what you want to do with the body.

* You are so numb that you don’t feel part of reality.

* You have to call his mother and tell her that her son is dead. You can’t tell her why. She is 2,000 miles away. She calls the hospital and they tell her nothing about her son.

* You don’t sleep or eat for days.

* You have to call a funeral home and make arrangements for your son to be picked up and cremated.

* You have to go to the funeral home and pick up your son’s ashes. Can you imagine seeing your son healthy, happy and full of life and the next time you see him he's 5 lb. of dust, bone and teeth fragments in a plastic bag?

* You have to plan and attend a memorial service.

* You have to go to the funeral home and read your son’s death certificate to verify all of the information is correct. You just scan it with no idea of what it says and say it’s good.

* You have to clean out his house and decide what to do with all of his clothes and other possessions.

* You have to call the phone company, electric company, internet provider, water company, medical insurance company, car insurance company, banks and financial investment institutions to close his accounts. They each ask why you are closing the account.

* You rely on medications to keep your mind numb and make you sleep.

* You still only know sketchy details of what happened. All that you really are aware of is that you’ll never see your son again.

* You have fallen into an involuntary abyss of non-functioning. After 2 years you are only at about 15% of your normal capacity.

* Experimenting with a variety of prescription medications to try to achieve 10 to 15% of your normal capabilities. You wake up constantly from nightmares. Sleeping 12 to 20 hours a day because your constant dreams are so intense your sleep provides you with little true rest. You get to the point where you avoid sleep because you know the dreams are coming.

* You read the medical report which describes in detail what my son endured. Where the entry and exit wounds were, what organs were damaged and in what way, what path the bullets took, how much blood was lost, how they used drugs, machines and surgery they used to try to keep him alive. You wonder if he could have been saved if Adams allowed medical personnel to attend to him instead of keeping them at bay for a precious 20-30 minutes while your son laid in the darkness on the ground bleeding to death.

* Two months from the day my son was murdered I was scheduled to retire. Now I am spending my retirement with an emotional disability.

* You experience PTSD every time you see a young person, see a pizza, drive by a school, hear the word “college”, see a red car, see a swimming pool, bicycle, skateboard, something related to science or math and so much more.

* See him spend his life from adolescence working diligently and devotedly to achieving an academic goal and knowing that he never got to experience reaching that goal when it was only a few weeks away.

* You see his face and hear his voice with everything you do. With each instance, you feel the heavy burden of his loss. I don’t know how long this lasts. It hasn’t stopped.

* You feel guilty whenever you savor some delicious food, hear some beautiful music, see some beautiful scenery, watch a sunset, pet a puppy and more because you are experiencing those things and you know your son can’t.

* There are times you see or think of something when you are driving around and you have to pull over into the first place you see and just cry for 20 minutes.

* When you are shopping for groceries you see something he liked or that he might that you usually would buy for him and you just break down and leave your cart of groceries in the middle of the aisle and you head out to your car to cry for a while.

* So many times each day you stop and think, “I still can’t believe he’s gone”. You wake up each morning having to once again realize that this horrible situation is true.

Benjamin Lloyd Cloer was a 26-year-old UGA grad student studying Artificial Intelligence when he was fatally shot on Nov. 10, 2019 by Winford Terrell Adams III, who at the time was a Madison County deputy

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