June the fifteenth is a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. At about 11:30 that morning my parents called me at work to tell me that my little brother Mike had been viciously tortured and murdered. When you hear other people speak about personal tragedies and they all say that things like that only happen to other people... until it happens to them. I used to think the same thing until that day. I left work and went home to tell my wife and cry on her shoulder for a while. Then some of my friends from work came over to make sure that we were okay. Then I had the grizzly and disheartening honor of going to my brotherís room and cleaning out his belongings. From his room I retrieved his tent, a pair of shorts, a new pair of pants, an old tattered pair of pants, several t-shirts, a photo album, a decorative wooden box, a knapsack, and an overnight bag for toiletries. These few things are all that he had, with the exception of a skateboard and a St. Christopherís medallion. Those two items my friends and I never did recover. I followed the Bay County Sheriff's Deputies search of the room for possible evidence and/or clues so the room was already in a state of disarray but one thing that sticks in my mind about that scene is that someone had defecated on the floor in the bathroom. I donít know when that occurred, but I know that Mike would never do that, so I assume that one of the other people that had been in his room either the night of his murder or the following day had done it out of disrespect. That turns my stomach.
What images do I think of when I think of Mike? I remember how excited he was when my wife and son and I arrived from New Mexico a few days before. I remember the smile on his face when he first saw his two-week-old nephew. He was so proud. He spoke of teaching him to skateboard when he got older. Mike got to hold his nephew one time. My son Granite will never know his Uncle Mike except from photos and stories about things he did. I also remember the night of his birthday when my wife and I took him to Mikatoís for sushi. He was happier that night than I had seen him in a long time. I think of the things that we spoke of, like trying to get a new car and what he saw in store for himself in the years to come. Mike was twenty-two years old to the day. He will never know what he was capable of. He will not see his nephew grow up. He will never realize what could have been. My little brother Michael Sawyer was murdered for nine hundred sixty dollars and change that he had in the bank. That is all that his life was worth to these three guys. I accept their collective pleas for life in prison, but at least they get to live. I think that is a gift that they do not deserve. It sickens me to know that my tax dollars will help to pay for these three to remain alive in prison. I think that all three should be forced to have two framed photos of Mike in their cell. One of him alive and one of his body as they left it. I would like to know that each one of these men hear his screams as they try to sleep, and relive the atrocity that they committed every day of the rest of their worthless lives.
The last time that I saw my little brother alive it was about 7:30 in the evening on the 13 th of June. He was happy and going to celebrate his birthday. Now I live with the pain of the loss of my brother and the "what ifs?" What if I had been there to party with him? What if he came to party at my house? What if? There are so many things that could have changed the outcome but ultimately my Brother's fate was decided by these three men. When I go to sleep at night I see the defiant look of anguish Iím sure he wore as his life drained from his body into the sand, and I hear his screams, and I hope that he knew how much I loved him.