info@justiceforajowens.org

JUSTICE FOR AJ

A mother unjustifiably murdered while protecting her children from racial violence

WHAT HAPPENED TO AJ?

For more than a year before AJ’s murder, residents in her neighborhood were plagued by the actions of Susan Lorincz, a white 58-year-old woman who lived across the street from AJ. Lorincz was notorious for harassing the neighborhood children for playing in the empty lot next to her rented home. Her verbal harassment often included racial epithets and slurs, as well as multiple calls to the local authorities, which often ended in Marion County Sherriff’s Officers questioning her accusations and leaving with no further action.

Earlier in the day on June 2, 2023, Lorincz researched the Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws in Florida. By late afternoon, the neighborhood kids were playing in the empty lot next to her home. Lorincz began yelling at the children, but this interaction escalated. As the kids began to scatter, Lorincz picked up a tablet left by Owens’ children. When 9-year-old Israel Owens, affectionately known as Izzy, returned to retrieve the tablet, Lorincz began verbally harassing/assaulting them and encouraged them to get their mother involved. Izzy returned home to tell his mother what had occurred. Looking to resolve the issue as adults, 35-year-old Ajike and son Izzy crossed the street and knocked on Lorincz’s door. Susan met AJ’s knocks with one gunshot through her locked, metal front door. Within minutes, AJ was dead, with Izzy standing beside her.

Lorincz was initially detained for only a few hours and was released shortly after. It took days for an arrest to be made, and the media was slow to report on the incident. Lorincz was eventually charged with manslaughter, a charge that AJ’s family feels are insufficient given the circumstances. She has pleaded innocent and continues to rely on the SYG law in her defense.

January 25, 2024 – Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens Mother, Pamela Dias, and AJ’s10-year old son Izzy, share their grief journey

FOLLOWING THE STORY

    • Since AJ’s death, her family and friends have been relentless in their pursuit of justice. They are not only fighting to hold Lorincz accountable but also advocating for legislative changes to prevent such tragedies in the future. Their tireless efforts aim to ensure that AJ’s death was not in vain, and that no other family must endure such a loss.

      One year later, we stand united in our commitment to honoring AJ’s memory and continuing her fight for a better, more just world. We invite you to explore this website, learn more about AJ’s story, and join us in seeking justice. Your support can make a difference.

      • June 2, 2023: The life of Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens, a 35-year-old Black mother of four, is unjustifiably taken by a 58-year-old white woman, Susan Lorincz in Ocala, Florida. 
      • June 6, 2023: Susan Lorincz is arrested in Marion County. 
      • June 9, 2023: First Bond Hearing. After the June 9th bond hearing, Owens’ attorney, Anthony Thomas, made a formal request to upgrade the charge from manslaughter to second-degree murder. The proposed upgrade would have potentially resulted in a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison for Lorincz, with the possibility of life imprisonment. 
      • June 12, 2023: Ajike Shantrell Owens was laid to rest in Ocala, FL. Her funeral was attended by family, friends, and thousands of Florida residents and concerned citizens who were deeply moved by her tragic story. 
      • June 26, 2023: Marion County State Attorney Bill Gladson announces the filing of formal charges in the murder case of Ajike ‘AJ’ Owens. The accused, Susan Lorincz, previously faced five counts during the June 9th Bond Hearing. However, Gladson has now officially charged Lorincz with one count of manslaughter with a firearm and one count of assault. Lorincz would face up to 30 years in prison on the charges.  
      • June 5, 2024: A pre-trial hearing was held in Ocala, FL, to determine a final court date. Initially scheduled to begin on June 17, the judge ruled that the court proceedings would now be decided on June 17, with the trial expected to start on either July 22 or July 29. Additionally, the defense informed the court of a Motion in Limine to exclude race-related testimony and evidence from the upcoming trial, The state prosecutor agreed, stating that removing this evidence would reduce the chances of an appeal. An evidentiary hearing was set for Friday, June 7, 2024. 
      • June 7, 2024: In the case of three Motions of Limine being filed by the Defense, only the First Motion was granted in-part by the judge. AJ’s family and Family Attorney, Anthony Thomas, have no doubt that race was the motivating factor behind Susan Lorinc’s actions. They await their day in court, now scheduled for August 12, 2024 in Ocala, Fl. 
      • August 12, 2024: Trial Expected to Begin 

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Together, we can ensure that Ajike’s legacy lives on and that her voice continues to be heard in the ongoing struggle for equality and justice for all.