Ambitious: Murdered teenager Kellon Hill, whose funeral was held yesterday, was planning to go to college in America. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
Ambitious: Murdered teenager Kellon Hill, whose funeral was held yesterday, was planning to go to college in America. *Photo by Ras Mykkal
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More than 500 mourners packed into Kellon Hill's funeral to remember the talented teen whose "bright life was extinguished violently and senselessly."

There was standing room only at Southampton Seventh-Day Adventist Church yesterday as crowds of hundreds of faces turned up for the murdered 18-year-old's funeral.

The three policemen guarding the entrance to the church stood as a stark reminder of the mindless violence that had brought the people to congregate there.

Crowds surrounded the entire church standing in the baking 84-degree heat waiting for the family to arrive and fill the pews inside. One onlooker said that although it was a good turn out nobody would want it to be at such a tragic event.

At about 2.30pm Kellon's huge family, about 160 members, walked in a line through the crowd into the main entrance of the church. They were led by Kellon's father Daniel and tearful mother Gail who could barely find the strength to climb the steps to the church with the burden of what had occurred just ten days earlier during at beach party at Elbow Beach.

As the church filled up many were left with no alternative than to squeeze into the surrounding sitting rooms. The gas station across the road had been reserved for the funeral guests.

The funeral programme clutched in every hand carried a picture Kellon in a natural pose with the words "Celebrating the life of 'King Solomon' Kellon DeVent Hill." Allegedly killed in cold blood by a gang trying to take away his gold chain, no irony was lost on the reasons Kellon's family had decided to name him a king. "At three years old," explained the obituary written by the family, "(Kellon) had already mastered the art of peaceful resolution."

Dedicated to God

The obituary went on to describe Kellon as a keen learner, with a strong will and trickster tendencies and it told of his wholehearted dedication to God.

"We soon realised that thoughts of God occupied a lot of his time. At four years old he used to carry a bible everywhere he went...He insisted he needed to carry his Bible so he could read it in case he got bored!"

Keira, Kellon's sister and "closest partner in crime" wrote: "You never had to beat him or shout at him. All you had to say was 'Kellon, Jesus is not pleased with you.' And he would say 'He's not? I didn't mean to hurt Jesus.' Sometimes he would even cry because he felt so bad."

The Bermuda Institute Reunion Choir opened the service followed by opening remarks from Bermuda Conference President Dr. Jeffrey O. Brien. The congregation read the opening Hymn "We Will Understand It By And By".

Premier Dr. Ewart Brown told the congregation how Kellon's murder had emphasised the importance of family guidance in Bermuda.

"He had the kind of aspirations that would make any parent smile - college, career, family.  A bright life extinguished violently and senselessly," he said.

"Kellon has not passed silently. The circumstances of his death have spoken to me and I hope they have spoken to you.

"We must be better parents, not only to our own children but to our neighbours' children.  Find out where they're going, what they're doing, who they're with.  We must meddle like we are parents first instead of mingling like we are their friends first.

"We must be attentive mentors, giving a hand up to those who perhaps don't even know they need it. Personal one-on-one contact with a young person that respects you, even looks up to you, is a valuable resource that should never be under-emphasised.

"We must be better teachers, instruct our children on the preciousness of life - especially in our small country where human talent is in high demand yet short supply.

"Today we are saying goodbye to one we could not afford to lose. We must stem this tide.  Our very livelihood depends on it."