Three women walked quietly to the corner across from the tidy, white stucco house at East 59th and Oakwood streets, gazing silently at a crime scene where four evidence technicians worked Friday morning, their vans accompanying three Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office cruisers.
For them, the woman found killed there the day before was more than a crime statistic — she was their mother and a veteran music teacher whose death will impact hundreds, they said. Deborah Camp Liles was 62.
Liles also had been similarly victimized in a high-profile case in 1993 when she was robbed, beaten and tied up at the same home by a man who said he was looking for yard work. Curtis Head, then 44, became the first person in Florida convicted under the state’s home invasion law. He was sentenced to life but then caused an uproar when he was being considered for release on parole after just five months due to prison overcrowding. However, it was denied and he remains in prison.
Daughter Michelle Liles McFatter, who drove from Tallahassee after hearing the news, said their mother really cared about teaching children music and had been doing it for 20 years.
“She is an amazing human being. She was just passionate about everything she did and she just loved everyone,” she said as she gazed at the home. “She’s a music teacher. She got grants so kids could learn violin.”
Another daughter, Rachel Simmons, called her mother “a good person, a human being who contributed.”
“She put on major productions at her elementary school. They did a production of ‘Annie’ last year,” Simmons said. “She was basically the only one doing it.”
Liles has been mentioned several times in The Florida Times-Union, including an article in 2006 headlined “At San Jose school, an orchestra is born.” It highlights San Jose Elementary’s first orchestra performance organized by Liles, who bought 20 violins for the school that year with $2,000…