We had been prepared for the realistic possibility of my brother getting a double digit sentence. I know he did a really bad thing. And I’m not saying that the severity of his crimes did not deserve that many years. But he is my brother. No one can believe their sibling deserves that.
I couldn’t wrap my head around that. As prepared as I tried to be I just didn’t know how we would get through that.
My brother was sentenced almost a year to the day of his arrest. That was an incredibly emotional day. For my brother. For myself. For our family. It was just really, really hard.
We got the opportunity to have three people speak on his behalf for the Judge to consider when deciding on his sentence.
Our uncle told the Judge the story of how my brother saved his life. How when they were at the beach our uncle went out in to the water and got swept away. And how he can’t swim. And how he would have drowned if my brother hadn’t gone in and rescued him.
My sister-in-law spoke. Her and my brother were friends before Steve and I had even met. They even dated in middle school. Apparently we live in a small town haha. She told the Judge about how my brother used to walk her all the way home from the park so she wouldn’t have to walk home alone at night.
My mother told the Judge about her son. The boy she raised. Her youngest child. All of the good things about him. It was amazing. I honestly do not know how she did it. Because I wouldn’t have been able to be up there staring into his face. I wouldn’t have been able to speak without completely falling apart. My mother is officially the strongest person I know.
The Judge also got to hear from one of the convenience store clerks. That was incredible. This man worked at the store down the street from my parent’s house. This man told us his side of the story. That he tried to run away. That my brother chased after him. That my brother forced him to give him money. That he was scared. That my brother had scared him. It was heartwrenching. And for the longest time I couldn’t go in to that store. I couldn’t face that man.
After everyone finished speaking the Judge took some time to think about his decision.
Time stood still.
I was almost positive that it was literally standing still.
And then the Judge started to speak. And he said some stuff. It gets vague here. I was beginning to lose it. I know he mentioned something about him being the boy that saved a life and walked a girl home at night. And then there was probably something to the other end about how he had robbed five places.
And then he started to hand out his sentence.
And this is what I got:
On first count of armed robbery I sentence you to 10 years….
And then I lost it completely. I heard 10 years. Almost threw up. And started to sob hysterically.
And then we were leaving. Some time had passed, but I was too busy having what I’m sure was the ugliest cry ever.
And people were excited. I was confused.
So then someone broke it down for me. He got like something like 10 years per robbery, and maybe 5 for the abduction, and then a year for the dui and eluding charges all to be served at the same time so a max of 10 years or something like that. And then the Judge suspended all but 6 1/2 years. With time served. So only another 5 1/2 years.
That I could handle. He’d be home before I was 30. I could handle that.
And I’ve been handling it ever since. Or at least I’ve been trying to.