It was not a pleasant way to die. I think that should be emphasized to everyone. If you don’t want to know more than that, you should stop reading now. Because it’s the stuff of a really epically done CSI or Law and Order episode and I don’t want to spare the details.
My brother and his best friend had given their neighbors money. It’s still not clear to me if the neighbors were in a real gang or if it was just playing at being a gang, but either way they had received the money to go down to Mexico and buy some drugs and then come back up and sell them for a profit. My brother and his friend were the investors.
The thing about drugs is that it’s really hard to sell them when you want to use them all the time. I should know, being a recovering addict myself. I could never imagine how people had a wine collection, or always had a coke stash. I couldn’t maintain either of those things. Anyway, the guys bought the drugs and then came back to sell them, but instead they used them all themselves. My brother and his friend wanted their investment back, and the four guys that went down to buy the drugs didn’t have it cause that shit was up their nose instead of being sold on the street.
My brother and his friend threatened to turn them in. I’m not quite sure how that would have worked. I mean, they would have implicated themselves as far as I can tell, but anyway they threatened. The four guys weren’t so keen on the idea of jail. So they decided they would kill my brother and his friend. This was all around Christmas time. My brother had turned 21 on the 21st of December that year and by the 29th he was dead. He was 21 for 8 whole days.
The murder was brutal. Two of the guys took my brother back to a room and took his debit card and made him give them his pin. Then they cut his throat. It wasn’t enough though–my brother was a big guy and these dudes were smaller, so they took a hammer and finished him off by beating him with it. They hadn’t cut deep enough because they could hear him screaming in the other room the whole time. His friend, who was being held by the two other guys, heard him die. Then they killed him too. They stuffed them in my brother’s car trunk and left their bodies two counties apart and then dumped the car.
It was horribly bloody. Carpets, walls, and clothes were covered in it. They conscripted other friends to help them clean it up. Three or four others helped dispose of carpets and repainted. In the end it was their undoing. It was a small town with too many people involved and it didn’t take long for all of them to get caught. I don’t know what that process looked like. We were never privy to the investigation. Though those are questions I’m asking now and seeing if I can get answers.
I don’t know how they figured out who did it.
What I do know is that they sucked at keeping it secret. Three of the four main guys took plea deals because it was a capital offense. Doing so meant that they didn’t risk the death penalty. One of them, the ring leader (or at least who I believe is the ring leader), went to trial. Our families asked to not seek the death penalty, and he was convicted by the jury in less than 30 minutes after closing arguments. 30. Damn. Minutes. I’ll always remember that time: the main guy, the ring leader, was laughing and joking with the prison guard. I hated him. I hated all of them. I was pissed they weren’t seeking the death penalty. So no, to answer your question, I am not (yet) seeking mediation with that guy.
Instead, I’m going to mediate with one of the four who showed the most remorse at his plea hearing. He was quiet and sad then, and it seems not much has changed in that regard. I was there for that plea deal. My mediator, who has met with him many times to talk about this process, said that he remembers me. He remembers. I’m not sure if I’ll end up mediating with the other three. They all, in some respect, tried to offset blame or say they were innocent in some way. If they don’t accept blame mediation is not allowed, so there’s that. And even if they do accept blame I don’t know how much Justice I can participate in without it becoming detrimental. Justice like this is hard, it hurts, and participating means ripping up old scabs and laying bear wounds I thought had closed up long ago.
I think Justice is meant to be communal. The weight of it should not be carried alone. We live in such an isolated society. So while I’m not carrying the weight alone I find that I am not allowing my community to carry much of the burden either.
So for now mediation is with this one man. This one sad, quiet, remorseful man.