2006 was supposed to bring a fresh start for Ha'son Cleveland and Ebony Brown. Instead, it brought an end to her life and his freedom.

Ha’son met Ebony in 1995 while they were still in highschool.

For over a decade, they remained close and dated off and on. The young couple moved to Morgantown, West Virginia in early 2005 so Ha’son could take classes at the University of West Virginia and be closer to Ha’son’s brother, Lamar, and his nephew, Christopher, who were living in Morgantown at the time.

Being Black New Yorkers in Morgantown, a predominantly white and highly insular community, Ebony and Ha’son struggled to feel at-home. For that reason, they decided to move to New Jersey at the end of the year. They  wanted be closer to Ebony’s family and settle down together in a more welcoming state.

Their big move was originally scheduled for New Year’s Eve, 2005.

Tragically, that was the night that Ebony was killed and that Ha’son lost his best friend and the love of his life.

“I miss Ebony so much and I would trade everything I have to bring her back. She is priceless. I love her to this day. I will always love her, always. That will never change.”

Ha’son Cleveland about Ebony Brown