Sunday, June 22, 2008
SAN JOSE -- Brian Brabazon drove here in April from his home in Carson City, Nev., and left silk flowers with a stuffed teddy bear attached to the plastic stems against the grave marker of Patrick Dennehy at Oak Hill Memorial Park, not far from where the 6-foot-10 forward starred in high school. Brabazon was accompanied by Dennehy's 19-year-old sister, Wyn.
The 2003 killing of his stepson, whom he had known since Dennehy was 8 months old, never is far from Brabazon's thoughts.
At his home in Carson City, he still wears one of Dennehy's faded Baylor T-shirts, and framed photos of Dennehy sit on the kitchen counter.
Brabazon remarried after he and Dennehy's mother, Valorie, divorced after the killing. Valorie, who lives outside of Seattle, refused to be interviewed for this story, as did Wyn.
"She's still hurtin'," Brabazon said of his ex-wife. "I tried to go to a therapist a couple of times, but she didn't want to do that. We were already on thin ice before Patrick was killed, but that cemented it. His death is a pain that won't go away."
After Carlton Dotson's sentencing for the killing in June 2005, Brabazon called him an "instrument of the devil."
"You know I walked through that court without walking through any metal detectors?" he recalled. "And I could easily have brought any type of weapon I wanted. I wanted to kill him."
Pity now replaces rage. "His life is ruined. His family's life is ruined," he said. "I think I've forgiven Carlton, but if I were ever to meet him my feelings might change."
"I tried to keep hope until his apartment was cleared out," Brabazon added, sobbing on his couch as he held his son Matthew, born a year ago this month, the same week he reported his stepson missing in 2003. "But when we pulled that U-Haul out of the apartment lot, I knew.
"I knew we were never going to see Patrick again."
-- Mike Wise