Wind chimes on the door tinkled delicately this morning as Lu Jiaxhing's widow appeared in the entrance of the family's corner store in Northeast Philadelphia.
Her arms were folded across her chest, securing a framed photograph of her husband so that his face looked out from her chest. Her face looked almost as still as his. She did not smile as she walked a dozen feet, crossing the sidewalk to a dark sedan parked on Colgate Street at Cheltenham Avenue.
As she slipped into the front seat, a Philadelphia detective got back behind the wheel to drive her, her son and her oldest daughter into Center City, to the Criminal Justice Center.
The three were traveling to the preliminary hearing for two teens in the fatal shooting of Lu at the Lawncrest corner store on the morning of Aug. 9.
Darrin White, 19, and James Canady, 15, are accused of murder, robbery and weapons offenses in the slaying of Lu, 49, during an apparent robbery. Both are being tried as adults.
"In some way, it will comfort her," Lu's youngest daughter said of her mother's presence in the courtroom. "It's a way to make them feel better, like my dad is getting what he deserves."
The daughter, 20, stayed behind to run the store, where a small but steady stream of customers flowed through, buying snack food and soda. "I had to get socks," said neighbor Vincent Smalls, 32. He was on his way to work, and pulled on the socks as soon as they were paid for.
A TV screen on a shelf near the ceiling showed four views inside the store. A light-blue lace doily was draped across the top of the TV.
As Lu's daughter sat on a stool behind the counter with the protective Plexiglass barrier, her brother-in-law wandered back and forth, from the rear of the store to the sidewalk outside. He was watching over her, protecting her, said the Temple University sophomore, who did not want their names used.