| Ten years after he was mortally injured, Donald J. Farrell III lights up digital billboards around New Jersey, as he did in his family’s life for his 19 years. Clear Channel Outdoor, a digital bill board company, this year has continued to display information about the 10/27/07 homicide on the Rowan University campus, where Farrell was a student, and about the reward still posted. Clear Channel is placing the messages at New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware as a public service. The killer or killers of Donald Farrell are still being sought. The Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office and the Rowan University Police Department continue to investigate the case. The billboards show a phone number for tips (856-307-7180) and the MyPD app for providing information anonymously.
“Donnie” Farrell was an outgoing Rowan University sophomore from Mountain Lakes in Morris County NJ. A good athlete in baseball and lacrosse, he was out with friends, including his longtime girlfriend, on a Saturday night after Rowan’s 10/27/07 Homecoming Weekend football game with Montclair University. The 19-year-old, one of four siblings, “a social connector with a big smile and wavy blond hair,” as his parents described him, slowed behind his companions on the street near Rowan’s Triad apartment building off Route 322 as four or five unknown males approached and asked him for directions. Suddenly, one or two of the strangers around Farrell began punching and kicking him and he dropped to the ground. One blow struck him in the neck. Before his friends could reach him, the assailants had fled into the night. They took his wallet and cell phone. The next day, in a hospital, the much-loved son of Kathy and Don Farrell died of a ruptured artery in his neck. As his parents wished, his organs were donated for transplantation.
A $100,000 reward from law enforcement agencies and Rowan was posted for information about the assailants. Billboard ads along local highways brought the homicide to the public’s attention. And a 2011 Rowan University journalism class project about the campus tragedy can still be viewed online (theDonnieproject). But the investigation into the fatal attack continues without an arrest. One predominant clue to a suspect was found early in the investigation, from a security camera video at a nearby convenience store where one of the assailants stopped. It was a distinctive “Coogie” hooded sweatshirt sold mostly in North Jersey and New York shops. The suspect also wore a Yankees ball cap. He told someone in the store he was known as “Smoke.”
As family members told writers for theDonnieproject, it took a long time to be able to talk about the son and brother they miss. Now someone needs to talk about those who took Donnie Farrell from them.
- DOROTHY MARIE ORENBERG- Obituary
- FREE SELF DEFENSE SEMINAR