Family Grieves Over Murdered Son as Police Continue to Investigate

While their son's alleged killer remains in jail without bond, the family of an Evansville man found murdered Wednesday is planning a funeral.
Darryl Foster's mother holds a hand-made card that her son had sent for Mother's Day.
Darryl Foster's mother holds a hand-made card that her son had sent for Mother's Day.

While their son's alleged killer remains in jail without bond, the family of an Evansville man found murdered Wednesday is planning a funeral.

An uncooperative Antonio Handley, 28, had his initial court appearance Wednesday morning. He faces murder and robbery charges and is being held without bond at the Vanderburgh County Jail. Handley was out on bond for an unrelated case, according to the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor's Office. In June 2013, Judge Pigman set Handley's bond at $5,000 cash after Handley was arrested on charges of possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. His trial was scheduled to start in August, according to court records.

Across the Ohio River in Sturgis, Kentucky, Foster's biological family stares at pictures of Darryl. There are some things in life that we so desperately try to hang onto. For Nannie Burkins, Foster's biological mother, it's a hand-made card with a hand-written note that ends, "Love Always, Darryl."

"He's got a good heart. He always had a good heart," Burkins said. "He loved his mother though. He called me and told me Happy Mother's Day."

Little would Burkins know, days later, her son would be gone.

"Darryl was still mine. No one else had a right to take his life," Burkins said. "He gone. [sic] Ain't nothing that's going to bring him back."

On Wednesday, Handley said he went to Foster's house and the two went out to get some beer, according to a police affidavit. After they returned, Handley told police, he robbed him of jewelry and cash. Foster apparently pulled out some money to give him but "it was low," according to a police affidavit. Then, according to police, Handley confessed that  he "poked" Foster repeatedly with a pocket knife until he "knew he was done." Foster supposedly owed him for groceries bought a month ago, according to the affidavit. Handley then checked into Deaconess E.R. claiming to have hurt himself "doing dishes." He then tried to check himself into Deaconess Cross Pointe. That's where detectives found him before he was taken in for questioning.

The Vanderburgh County Coroner's Office has ruled the death Darryl Foster as a homicide. An autopsy revealed he died from internal bleeding from multiple stab wounds.

Foster was no saint, Burkins said. However, this grieving mother says her son should be known not for his history but rather his heart.

"Darryl was a good boy but he got into a lot of trouble when he moved to Evansville. He ran with the wrong crowd but he was a good person," Burkins said. "He was kind hearted and there wasn't much he wouldn't do for somebody. Darryl done [sic[ his time for what he done to people and it's time for them to pay back for what they did to him."

There is a funeral to plan and a trial to prepare for. But when it comes to this picture of the big guy with the big smile, there will be love always.

"I'm glad that he gave me the life that he gave me. I know my son loved me and I loved him," Burkins said.

***

Making matters worse, Burkins said, is how Foster's biological family was notified. Burkins said she found out about her son's death on television. Evansville Police said a woman at the crime scene, Lotanya Poole, told authorities that she was Foster's sister. However, Foster's biological family said Poole is not a direct relative of Foster. Burkins said Foster moved out of the house at the age of 18 and became very close with Poole and her family. The suspect, Antonio Handley, is related to Poole.

This mix-up caused a snare in the process of notification of Foster's family, Burkins said. Evansville Police said unfortunate instances like these do happen from time to time.
 

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