Grieving mother demands accountability after son’s funeral interrupted to make arrest

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CHARLES CITY, Va. (WRIC) — A mother is demanding accountability after a family friend was arrested during her son’s funeral. 

Less than a week ago, Donna Watson and over 200 others gathered at J.T Morris and Son Funeral Home to say goodbye to Watson’s 31-year-old son, Troy Howlett.

Watson said her final moments with her son were ruined and his best friend was not allowed to grieve.  

“Troy was such a funny little boy,” said Watson. 

Howlett’s close friend, Rodney Peace, was expected to speak at the service. 

“I was actually going to give him a necklace my son was wearing, umm to give him some strength to get up there and talk,” said Watson. 

Watson says instead of Peace getting to speak, a dozen Hopewell Police officers showed up and put Peace in handcuffs. 

“It hurt because I think of Rodney as a son,” Watson said. “But it’s not about what Rodney did or didn’t do; It’s the heartless act of them coming during my son’s funeral.” 

Hopewell Police declined an on-camera interview, but told 8News Peace was wanted for credit card fraud and failing to appear in court. They said Peace had evaded officers for months. 

Police received a tip that Peace would be attending the funeral. 

When they arrived, officers talked with Peace and instead of arresting him, they let him watch the funeral in another room. 

Police said they didn’t want to wait until after the funeral in case Peace slipped out with a crowd. 

Watson said there were plenty of other opportunities for officers instead of her son’s funeral. 

“Don’t interrupt something I can’t get back,” Watson said. “This was a sacred moment for me.” 

Peace is expected in court this Friday. 

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