Gulfport couple prepares for trial of man accused of killing their son

Gulfport couple prepares for trial of man accused of killing their son
Zach had been preparing to tell his parents he had been accepted to medical school. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Zach had been preparing to tell his parents he had been accepted to medical school. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport couple is preparing to face a man who is accused of killing their son.

Jury selection begins Monday in the capital murder trial of Derrick Boone; one of three men charged in the 2013 shooting death of Zach McClendon. The victim's parents say it has been a long, frustrating wait for justice.

"The first year we didn't even come out of the house; didn't want to be around nobody," said Percy McClendon.

Percy and Paula McClendon say they have been struggling to heal since the day their son was shot to death.

"We're definitely frustrated because it's taking a long time," said Paula McClendon.

Zach, 25, was killed in his apartment right outside of Oxford just days before Christmas. The Ole Miss graduate student was about to head home to Gulfport to share exciting news with his family - he had been accepted into medical school.

"I have my moments when I need him, where he was always there. The man cave for us, we timed it for when he gets out of school to work together. It's over now," said Percy.

Now, the grieving parents will soon travel to Lafayette County for the first trial.

"I know I'm going to get very emotional because I'm going to have to see pictures of how they shot my son in the head, and what they did to him and everything," said Paula. "Yeah, I'm anxious because I know it's going to break my heart."

The McClendons say they will sit in court every day, hoping for answers to questions that have haunted them.

"The system should do what the system should do, so we can be at rest with our son," said Percy. "The parents....have to suffer the longevity, and possibly death, without knowing that justice took place for the death of our son. That is more frustrating to me than anything."

The two other men charged with Zach murder are Joseph Lyons and Steven Wilbanks. There's no word yet on when their trials will begin.

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