Family of 10-year-old killed by stray bullet in Overtown receive his high school diploma during special tribute

MIAMI – A special tribute was held at a high school graduation ceremony Thursday for a boy that was shot to death in front of his home eight years ago.

Back in March of 2015, 10-year-old Marlon Eason was killed by a stray bullet while playing basketball in the front yard of his home located in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood.

According to his family, Marlon was a ball of energy, and like many little boys, he loved cars, Batman and sports.

Marlon’s grandmother, Dorothy Ruffin, told Local 10 News that she often wonders about the teenager he would’ve been today.

“He was a smart child and I know he was looking forward to this day to graduate,” she said.

Eight years later, Marlon’s loved ones are inside the Center of Life Academy’s auditorium to honor his memory.

Marlon’s mother, Elizabeth Ruffin, was front and center at what would’ve been her son’s high school graduation day.

Marlon’s former teacher was also in attendance and told Local 10 News that she was grateful to have had him as a student.

“As his former teacher I am so grateful to have had Marlon Eason as my student and he will always have a place in my heart,” she said.

Marlon was awarded an honorary high school diploma at the ceremony, which was accepted by his mother and grandmother.

After being overwhelmed with joy and clinging onto his diploma, Marlon’s family told Local 10 News that this is a moment that they will never forget.

“I am feeling overjoyed and emotional. I am just so happy right now,” said Elizabeth Ruffin. “He should be here right now walking across this stage,”

Dorothy Ruffin called the special tribute one of her proudest moments.

“I feel like our dream came true even though he’s not here with us, but the dream came true,” she said.

Other family members who referred to Marlon by his nickname “Murv,” said that they wish he could be here for the moment.

“I really miss my cousin Murv and I am so excited he got his diploma today,” Marlon’s cousin said. “Rest in peace Murv.”

His mother told Local 10 News that Marlon’s diploma will hang inside a room dedicated to her son inside their home.

About the Authors:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.

Ryan Mackey is our newest digital journalist at WPLG. He is New York born and South Florida raised.