A Mother’s Day present 26 years in the making

Eric Dorough has never known what type of flowers were his mother’s favorite.

He said he wanted something bright and chose a bunch of yellow chrysanthemums, pink Gerber daisies and white astromerias to be the first flowers to decorate a grave marker placed this week, 26 years after his mother’s murder.

The burial spot at Macon Memorial Park Cemetery previously was unmarked.

Dorough and his brothers, Michael and Jonathan, are scheduled to dedicate the marker today, on Mother’s Day, as a gift to their mother. Family and close friends have been invited to attend.

“It’s just a great way to memorialize her,” Eric said. “It’s something we could do for her for Mother’s Day.”

The brothers’ mother, 24-year-old Janna Lee Cole, was brutally stabbed to death in August 1982.

At the time of her death, Cole was a single mother raising three boys while working as a secretary.

Eric, then 4 years old, had his throat slashed during the attack along with his then 2-year-old twin brothers Michael and Jonathan.

Because the brothers were young when their mother was killed, Michael said they’ve never really been able to give her a Mother’s Day gift and it’s been years since they could tell her that they love her.

“There’s never been anything we could give her until now,” he said. “It’s the best thing we can give to her.”

The marker was donated by the cemetery, Eric said.

He said individuals in the community donated about $1,500 to help erect a marker after reading the brothers’ story in The Telegraph in February.

Some readers took up a collection at church on the Sunday morning the story appeared in the newspaper or at work the following Monday. Dozens contacted the newspaper. The brothers said they are thankful for the community’s generosity.

Eric said he was surprised by the outpouring of support from the community. He didn’t think people would remember his mother’s death or would care so many years later.

“It wouldn’t have been possible (to place a marker) without the community,” he said.

Eric said he hopes to use the donations to benefit family members of crime victims.

The marker is topped with a color photo etched in bronze of Cole and her three sons.

Eric said the photo of Cole is a copy of the only picture he’s ever had of her.

Images of the three brothers show Eric as a Macon police officer, Michael as a Bibb County deputy and Jonathan in his high school football uniform.

The brothers say the marker gives them a place to visit their mother, taken away so early in their lives.

“This is huge for me because I never knew her,” said Jonathan, who is now a diesel mechanic in Macon.

Information from The Telegraph archives was included in this report.