March 15, 2021 | By Owen Cavanaugh
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class. The student credited above wrote this story as a class project.
Herbert Seymour, Jr. was in love.
He and Kristen Trenier had only been dating for about six months when marriage was becoming a recurring discussion topic.
Herbert was confident in his love. He quickly professed his love on their very first date, drawing a cute snowman on a napkin with “I love you” added.
The two Los Angeles-natives started discussing flying to Las Vegas to get married.
The plane tickets were never purchased. Herbert and Kristen never married.
On February 9, 2011, the night they planned to book their trip, Herbert was shot and killed on the street just outside his home.
Herbert was a lifelong Angelino, growing up in the area and spending most of his life in California. When he was young, Herbert quickly found a passion for football.
Despite his mother’s initial hesitations, Herbert played football throughout his high school career. He spent one year playing in Mississippi before moving back to Los Angeles and playing three years at George Washington High School.
“He was always on a good team too,” his mother Cynthia Seymour said. “I went to Washington, too, and the team was lousy but when he went there, they were in the playoffs.”
After finishing high school, Herbert attended Northrop Rice Advanced Institute of Technology to study aviation engineering. He was a strong student in grade school and continued to study hard and make good grades throughout college.
Herbert welcomed his first child, a baby girl named Christian, while in college. About five years later, his son Herbert Seymour III was born.
Herbert loved to coach Christian’s youth teams. She was often the only girl on the team. Christian once played a key role in leading her team to victory and her father couldn’t be prouder. He quickly ran to pick her up as they celebrated with the rest of the team.
Herbert was incredibly proud to pass his name down to his son. The three Herbert Seymours – father, son, and grandson – would often spend time walking around the local park.
On that fateful February night, Herbert was spending time with his family outside playing tag. They were running all throughout the house enjoying their game, so much so that Herbert Sr. fussed at them. The game quickly wound down as Cynthia, Herbert’s mother, went to bed early with plans the next morning. His sister Chante laid down to watch TV.
Herbert put some fries into the toaster oven before heading to the liquor store down the block, the very same store in which Herbert worked his first job.
Chante would normally accompany her brother on such trips. The two siblings were very close. “If you see him, you see me,” Chante recalled. “I used to call him my little big brother because I learned so much from him even though I was the oldest.”
Chante didn’t go to the store with her brother that night. She says she felt something telling her to stay put for the night.
Not long after Herbert walked out the door, the family heard gunshots.
When Chante told her father that Herbert was not back yet, Herbert Sr. immediately ran outside. That’s when he spotted his son lying in the street. They could see his body from the front porch.
Kristen, Herbert’s fiancé, was spending the night at her sister’s house. The two had been talking over the phone and texting all day. The upcoming wedding plans made for such an exciting topic for them both.
She wasn’t prepared for the phone call from Chante with the news.
Kristen’s last text message to Herbert was a long one – she detailed how much she loved him and how happy she was that they found each other. She still finds comfort in knowing that one of the last things Herbert likely saw was her message and that in his last moments, he knew how much he was loved.
Herbert’s family had lived in that neighborhood for decades, but after tragedy struck at their doorstep they packed up and left. The pain of remaining there would have been too much.
Herbert’s kindness and goofiness made him loved among the people that knew him. He used to hug every woman and shake every man’s hand every morning at the Best Buy where he worked. Cynthia attributes over half of her Facebook friends to people she met through her son.
Herbert worked at two different Best Buy locations. Nearly all of the other employees took time off, calling in employees from other stores to cover their shifts, so they could attend Herbert’s funeral.
“The funeral service was so packed that hardly anyone could sit down,” Christian recalled.
To this day, there is a photo of Herbert in a Best Buy break room in Los Angeles, as well as “Herb” stickers on the backs of Best Buy work trucks in Culver City.
Cynthia sought therapy after that night and still sees a therapist. Her husband Herbert Sr. refused to go.
“I think it ate away at him,” Cynthia said. “I still believe it was eating him up.”
Herbert Sr. died from lung cancer in 2019?. Cynthia attributes his declining health in part to the pain he was holding in.
Herbert’s family looks back on their memories of him with laughter and love. They all beam with pride whenever they speak of him.
Herbert Seymour, Jr. was a son a mother could be proud of, a brother a sibling could depend on, and a father who cared deeply about his children.
If you have any information on the unsolved murder of Herbert Seymour, Jr., please call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) ASK-LAPD.
Research & Impact
For many survivors of violent crimes, there’s one term that they will hear early and often – “victims’ rights.”
While victim rights are vital for helping a survivor understand and navigate the judicial process, for survivors of a cold case homicide, those mandated guidelines can often seem skewed. One of the more commonly cited rights is the one giving voice to victims of crime through impact statements presented at the close of the judicial process – the sentencing phase.
The purpose of the victim impact statement is to allow a victim to articulate the impact of how a crime has affected them emotionally, physically, and financially, while, of course, speaking on their overall loss. It can be a very emotionally draining and challenging experience for a survivor.
For many of the families Project: Cold Case works with, the opportunity for a victim impact statement is drastically limited.
Spotlight Articles, like the one you are reading now, provide survivors an opportunity to give a voice to their loved one, detail a life well lived before the homicide occurred, and describe their own personal journey pushing forward while fighting and advocating for their lost loved one. For families participating in the Spotlight project, there can be empowerment and healing as we allow survivors to lead the conversation of awareness for a loved one.
Through these stories, loved ones are no longer defined by their final moments, but rather their entire life.
To learn more about the Project: Cold Case Spotlight project, please reach out to our office. For more information on victims’ rights specific to your area and circumstances, check with your local state attorney’s office.
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