PORTSMOUTH -- What was an unsolved case of assault for years now is an unsolved case of homicide.

April 7, 2010, a group attacked Ernest Holiman outside apartments on Cherokee Road, not far from City Park.

December 8, 2012, Holiman died at the age of 48. The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Holiman's death was the result of injuries that came during that attack in 2010.

'You sort of wished in a way that it could have been you instead of your child, because I never pictured him leaving before me, and I truly miss him,' Holiman's mother, Mary Jenkins, told 13News as she teared up.

Jenkins said the attack happened just after her son dropped someone off at the apartments. Doctors didn't expect Holiman to recover. He had to relearn how to walk, talk, and feed himself.

'He was beaten unrecognizable, and things didn't look too well for him, because after that, he went into a coma for about a month,' said Jenkins. 'They used, like, iron pipe, and stun guns, and they hit him from behind, because he had two blood clots on the back of his brain.'

Although Holiman's condition improved for quite awhile, it began worsening in 2011, and he had to go to a nursing home.

'We was there until he died. Hospice took over, and they were very sweet people,' shared Jenkins. 'He let me know that he really loved me, so that was a good thing.'

Portsmouth police detectives ask anyone who may have information about the people who attacked Holiman to contact them using Crime Line. The number is 1-888-LOCK-U-UP.

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