It was also a Monday night, and as I write this, it is very nearly six years to the minute that the jury found my brother guilty of the murders of our parents, along with several associated crimes. I had eaten dinner in the small room by the courtroom’s entrance during the three hours between the start of the jury’s deliberations and the announcement that they had reached a verdict. When we were told the jury was coming back, I put my sport coat on, returned to the courtroom, and sat with my wife and daughter as the judge read the decision. I mouthed “Thank you” to the jury. One of the jurors mouthed back that I was welcome.
Mrs. M, the Spawn, and I returned to our hotel from the courthouse after the verdict was announced, and saw the news reports on the television as I called some friends and relatives who weren’t in the area. I went to bed about 11:30 that night.
The following day was a day off, as the attorneys for both sides prepared for the sentencing phase, which would determine whether Michael would face the death penalty. In the event, he received two sentences of life without parole, and he is serving those sentences now. A couple of years after the trial, one of the jurors told me that when they went into the room to decide the sentence, it was likely 11-1 for the needle. But one juror had changed her mind about capital punishment during the course of the trial, and it had to be unanimous, so the remaining eleven joined her in choosing the sentence he received.
And now it’s ten years since the Big Noise, and six years and some weeks since I last spoke to Michael. I don’t particularly feel a need to talk to him — I don’t think there’d be much point to it. But I notice the anniversaries like today’s, and I think about him at holidays, on his birthday, and such. I hear how he’s doing from time to time, and I hope he finds some satisfactions in his daily life. I think he’s where he should be, and I’m glad he’s there, because he took what he could never give back, and I think there’s some justice in the rest of his life being taken away in this way. My parents deserved that much commemoration, I think.
But I don’t want him to suffer, and as I said, I don’t begrudge him any good he finds in the life he now lives. I don’t know if that’s forgiveness, but it’s what I have, six years after I heard him declared guilty. It’s what I have.