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    Karen Humphreys, right, mother of Josiah Humphreys, is comforted by a friend after the memorial service Friday.


    Veronica Humphreys, accompanied by her fiancé, Peter Wynkoop, speaks about her brother Josiah during his memorial service Friday at Granite Bay's Bayside Church.


    A mourner holds the program for Josiah Humphreys' service. The Jesuit High grad was killed Sunday in midtown.

  • Josiah Humphreys

Midtown beating victim mourned by family, friends

Published: Saturday, Mar. 23, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 24, 2013 - 12:44 pm

As Josiah Humphreys' loved ones struggle to make sense of his brutal death, they wonder, too, how it is that his attackers remain free.

Nearly one week after Humphreys, 28, was beaten to death on a busy midtown corner, Sacramento police are still working to identify the three people responsible for the Sunday morning attack.

Police are urging the public to help: They say they believe there are witnesses or people with knowledge of what happened who have yet to come forward.

Veronica Humphreys wonders how this could be. She said it's "sick" to think of three people ganging up on her younger brother – described by one friend as a "string bean"; perhaps worse to think of people keeping quiet about it.

"It makes it where you feel unsafe to be in your own town, in your own city. To think stuff like this happens and people were standing around and watched this happen?" said Veronica Humphreys, 32. "The more people don't get involved, the more stuff like this is going to happen."

What is known is that Josiah Humphreys had been out that night and likely was on his way home when he got into the fight – he lived just yards away from the corner of P and 18th streets where he suffered fatal blows to his head sometime after midnight.

Police do not believe Humphreys knew his assailants.

Officers arrived shortly after 12:45 a.m. to find him on the ground, bleeding, as bystanders performed CPR.

Officer Doug Morse, a police spokesman, said detectives are confident they eventually will identify the attackers with the help of surveillance video recovered from the area.

On Friday, hundreds of Humphreys' friends and families gathered at Bayside Church in Granite Bay to remember a young man described as outgoing, witty and fun.

His sister jokingly called him a bookish nerd, a fan of "Star Wars," books and video games. He liked science, Michael Jackson and cowboy hats, according to his loved ones.

At his core, he was a "good, altruistic, honest person" with strong values, his older sister said.

Josiah Humphreys grew up in Roseville and attended Jesuit High School before studying biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

He returned to Roseville to be closer to his family and took some classes at Sierra College. He had just moved to midtown in January after securing a job with a property management company, his sister said.

"He was just talking to me a week before he died about how excited he was to work for the company and how there was a lot of … opportunity," Veronica Humphreys said. "He wanted to work his way up, go back to college and finish his degree. He had a lot of potential."

Tom Goode, friends with Josiah since their days at Jesuit, recalled his unforgettable smile and kind heart.

When the two were in college, Goode said Josiah secured him a summer job at the Humphreys' family business — a sprinkler installation company — despite Goode's lack of construction experience. Goode remembers the risk his friend took and how readily he did it.

"He's just a very warm, welcoming human being," he said. "It's really quite amazing."

Family and friends are trying to raise money for a reward fund for information in the case. An arrest "wouldn't bring him back," Goode said, "… but it would at least bring peace to his family and justice to his family, and I think that's what's really important to everyone."

Veronica Humphreys said closure in the case would also bring peace to strangers shaken by the violence.

"It's more than just about my brother's death, it's about community," she said. "We want justice not only for us, but for the city and everybody who lives here."


Anyone with information about the killing of Josiah Humphreys is asked to call police at (916) 264-5471 or Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP. Those wishing to donate to the reward fund can do so at

Call The Bee's Kim Minugh, (916) 321-1038. Follow her on Twitter @kim_minugh.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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