'He just wanted to be a better dad': Remembering Friday's homicide victim, Steven Mayes

LeaNora Lilly and Steven Mayes
Posted at 10:22 PM, Jul 17, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Two days after Steven Mayes was shot and killed in Lexington Friday night, the mother of Mayes' children spoke with LEX 18 about her loss.

"He just wanted to be a better dad," LeaNora Lilly said. "That's all he talked about was just being a better dad to them. And he was. He was doing that."

Lilly and Mayes met nearly 20 years ago.

"I just liked him," Lilly said with a smile. "I thought he was cute."

Their on-and-off relationship never interfered with how they raised their kids, Lilly said. They also never could deny their deep connection.

"No matter what we went through I loved him—through everything," Lilly said. "No matter what, we always found our way back to each other."

Lilly described Mayes, 35, as a "homebody," who went to work, came back home, and played video games. She called him a "sneaker head," referring to his love for sneakers.

"We used to look at recipes and try to cook them," Lilly said, giggling. "He's alright, but he thinks he's a good cook."

Lilly said when Mayes did venture out, it was usually to go see one of their kids play sports. Lilly and Mayes had been texting about one of their children's future, just hours before he was shot.

"I was wondering why he wasn't texting back," Lilly said. "And that's why."