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Bench is memorial to Shepherd University students slain by dad

September 05, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. - Logan and Benjamin Pennington, brothers and Shepherd University students who were shot and killed by their father on campus last year, still evoke vivid memories among their instructors.

The Penningtons were regarded as smart, unique individuals, and their instructors reflected on their traits Tuesday afternoon during a campus ceremony to dedicate a bench in their honor.

Momodou Darboe, who teaches sociology at Shepherd, said Benjamin Pennington was an "ideal student" who thought clearly and wrote well.

Darboe told about 30 students at the ceremony beside Erma Ora Byrd Hall that he remembered talking to Benjamin about graduate school.

"Unfortunately, that was the last communication I had with Ben," Darboe said.

Jim Lewin, who teaches English and journalism at Shepherd, said he remembered how Logan Pennington took an interest in journalism and wanted to get a job reporting on technology.

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Logan had a dry sense of humor and could see the "absurdity of things," Lewin said.

"I think about Logan a lot, and I will miss him a lot," Lewin said.

Shepherd's student government association raised close to $1,000 to have the bench installed along with a plaque that will read, "In loving memory of Logan and Benjamin Pennington."

The bench sat in a freshly mulched area along a sidewalk with bushes planted around it.

Among those speaking at the ceremony was Benjamin Pennington's girlfriend, Tiffany Ardisson.

Ardisson said she was grateful for the students who turned out to remember the brothers.

"It's definitely part of the healing process," Ardisson said after the ceremony.

Last Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Benjamin and Logan Pennington's deaths near the Thacher Hall dormitory on the West campus. Their father, Douglas Pennington, then shot himself to death.

Douglas Pennington was suffering from mental illness and his mother told police that he had been under the care of a mental health physician in Cumberland, Md., but had missed two appointments, according to The Associated Press. Pennington's mother also said her son's medication had made him senile for months, the AP reported.

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