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TITLE: Murder in the Family
By Rhonda Egging
07/27/11
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Murder in the Family

The day of the murder, my sister overslept. She told me later that the sound of helicopters and police car sirens got her out of bed. Before she could get the sleep out of her eyes, she watched her nineteen-year-old son hand cuffed in her own driveway and assisted into the black depths of a screaming police car.

Later that day the local police charged my nephew, Brandon with first-degree murder. Our whole family converged on my sister’s house. When I arrived, I saw vestiges of blood in the bathroom where Brandon showered after running from the murder scene.

My whole education of the judicial system comes from television so when I saw the blood in the bathroom I thought, “oh no … evidence.” The police never entered the house again. The murder scene, two houses away held plenty of evidence to convict Brandon.

Only his parents and grandparents could visit Brandon in jail that first week. Each day a new part of the story came out from the police. The violence shocked me. Brandon is my nephew; he grew up with my children. What changed?

Brandon never confessed to the crime and my sister, eleven years later continues to believe in his innocence. His sentence is for life without the possibility for parole. It leaves me cold and shaken whenever I think about that little blond boy I watched grow up, now living among the worst of humanity.

I also think of the young woman who lost her life that day. Her family scarred by this horrible tragedy. I would like to reach out to them, but my sister says that would be like telling them we believe Brandon killed their sister and we cannot confess for him.

Both families live with death. For the family of the young woman death is final, mourned and cherished in their hearts. For our family the death is slow and ominous. Our child lives in limbo, eating, sleeping, and breathing daily acts of violence and hatred. Convicted of a heinous act yet we continue to love him, visit him and pray for him. He is our child.
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