TAMPA - Angela Pearson cooked food and invited friends to her apartment on every anniversary of her son's death.
This year is different, she said. Instead of a gathering of friends, she wants closure and justice for her son, Levi Dixon Jr.
"This year it's really hard, harder than all the other years," Pearson said. "It's been five years. There's not a day that goes by that I don't miss my baby."
Dixon, an aspiring 17-year-old singer who performed with his church choir, was shot dead inside a friend's West Tampa home on July 27, 2008.
Detectives are hoping Dixon's musical ties can help generate tips about the case.
A.J. Crawford, a tribute artist and longtime friend of Dixon, has written and produced a music video that pays homage to Dixon. Crawford, who goes by the stage name "Young A.J.," wrote "Dear Lee" as a way of coping with Dixon's death and to speak out against violence.
The locally produced song could "urge the public to come forward with information on the teen singer's death," police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor said.
Dixon was shot to death five years ago when he was alone at the house at 2536 W. Walnut St. about midnight. Other friends had left him there because he was too young to get into a dance club. At about 4 a.m., someone kicked in the door and shot Dixon. The teen's body was found outside.
Police have not uncovered a motive. No arrest has been made and no witnesses have stepped forward.
So Pearson spoke out on Friday, asking the community for help.
"He was at the wrong place at the wrong time," Pearson said. "He shouldn't have been there, true. But he didn't deserve to be killed. It's been five years. No one has said anything."
Pearson said investigators told her that the assailant stood only 12 inches from her son and fired a gun.
"I'm not going to lie and say I forgive him," Pearson said about the person who killed Dixon. "I pray I can forgive him. I just want to let them know how they left me with a hole in my heart. If they had any morals, they would come forward and tell me what happened to my son."
Crawford said he hopes the music video brings attention to the unsolved case.
"He sounded like an angel," Crawford said about Dixon's talent. "This tribute is for him, to bring awarness to the situation, to help find the person who murdered my friend. We know he's out there."
Dixon's family said the teen was focused on his music and education. He was preparing for his senior year at Blake High School, was performing with a group called the Top Prospects and had a scholarship available from Bethune-Cookman University.
Anyone with details on the case can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) or via its Text-a-Tip line by typing the keyword "CSTB" followed by the tip to 274637. Tips through Crime Stoppers remain anonymous and may lead to a $3,000 cash reward.
TBO.com producer Rick Mayer and Tribune photographer Jay Conner contributed to this report.