Xavier Hartman’s family is finding strength by keeping the young man’s memory alive


Spending time in the great outdoors is where Xavier Hartman felt most at home.

Now, it’s the family trips to go fishing that help his loved ones remember the 19-year-old.

Xavier was shot and killed in rural Galva in June 2018.

Police said Xavier had crashed his truck and James Love who lived nearby approached the young man with a concealed gun. There was a fight before Love fired his weapon.

Early this year, a jury cleared Love of those charges. He claimed self-defense. 

Xavier’s mother Melissa Kelly Hartman told Local 4 News the loss of her son had tested her faith in the justice system and to an extent law enforcement and community. 

She said Xavier was such a big part of their family including a father figure to his two younger sisters that it makes it hard to accept he is gone. 

Melissa Kelly Hartman said, “This was the last photo I had for Father’s Day because I’m mom/dad.”

For Melissa Kelly Hartman and her mother Judy Hartman, it’s memories, words and photos they value most.

Melissa said, “Out in the backyard, this is what we would do, get up in the morning and he’d shot his bow, and we’d have coffee.”

It’s a simple way Xavier Hartman’s family try to fill the hole.

Melissa said, “Trying to keep his, his name and his spirit. The person. The compassionate, loving, big-hearted young man that he was alive.”

It’s because Melissa said fighting for Xavier hasn’t been simple.

Melissa said, “I really don’t know. Every day is why, the what ifs. Not fair, not okay.”

It’s a pain Melissa said she knew instantly.
“I knew when he passed, and I knew every time they shock him [to revive him]. I felt it in my soul. I felt it through my whole body. I knew before he was gone,” said Melissa.

It’s not only that early morning last June when Xavier was shot.

Melissa said, “Pretty much bled out there because they didn’t get to him, nobody got to him in time, and I don’t know why.”

But the trial that ended in acquittal in January.

Melissa said, “My little girls struggle. My eight year old more than anything. They don’t know he’s out. They don’t know he was found not guilty. I can’t tell them.”

She added, “It’s not okay that a man can take someone’s life and not be held accountable for it and then to know he is around like he had done nothing wrong.”

Now it’s the racist letter Xavier’s grandmother got in the mail.

Xavier’s grandmother Judy Hartman said, “Calling him a drunken n-word, which I don’t understand why people feel the need to send us letters telling us we need to get over grieving the loss of our Xavier.”

Melissa said, “Don’t want my son’s name drug through the dirt any more than his body was laying in it. Bleeding out because was that not enough. Is it not enough? You just have to keep dragging him through it and slander his name.”

Xavier’s family said they want to share with people the life of the young man they treasured and lost.

Melissa said, “Xavier was a kind soul. He was just very genuine, big heart.” 

Xavier would have turned 20-years-old in March. Family and friends had a celebration of life on his birthday for Xavier.

His mother also wants to hold a fishing derby to share his passion.

The family recently launched a scholarship in his memory

They posted:

We the family of XAVIER HARTMAN are proud to offer this scholarship in his name. Many don’t know how he hated not graduating high school and that is why he was working on his GED so that he could of joined the Marines. He loved his job and worked well with coworkers, but his goal was to enlist and serve like his people.. Grandparents, uncles & aunts


Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.