The media was there in full force. Our court advocates warned us we were going to hear graphic details of David's injuries. I was prepared; I wanted and needed to know every detail of that night.
The rippling effect of a murder tears the lives of a town and a family apart. This honest, painfully touching memoir explores the short life and tragic death of the author’s youngest brother (David) who died in a senseless, heinous beating perpetrated by a group of kids bent on acting out.
The accused were members of a street gang called Bristol Boyz. What started as a simple band practice turned dark as the brother and his bandmates made their way home afterwards and were set upon by a group of teens wanting nothing more than to fight. It was a classic case of road rage that went awry. And why? To get out aggression? To set things right? To prove a point? The savage beating didn’t resolve anything for the attackers who ramped up violence exponentially later when they employed more to join in the melee. The author’s brother died in the ensuing clash but not before languishing for days in a hospital on life support. He never regained consciousness and the family was faced with the painful decision to remove him from life support when it was evident he would never recover.
Wanting perhaps to exorcise her own demons, the author relates the high emotions of her brother’s loss and follows the prosecution of members of this gang as a town tries to understand and comes to term with the pact mentality of the youths. She leaves no stone unturned as she documents the hour by hour, day by day drama for her family and their attempt to obtain justice for their lost boy. Her words are potent, a thunderous reflection that leaves one shaking in anger and grief. This well written, naked retelling of the search for justice winds up encompassing the author’s life as she follows the lives of those accused and watches members of the Bristol Boyz gang receive trial, sentencing, imprisonment and eventually parole back into society. Sadly, not all received sentencing for their murderous rage-filled act.
If it’s possible to enjoy such a tale, I did. I’ve read like-stories before that have not been as visceral and forthcoming, as direct and unbiased. Doreen McGettigan is careful to share her views but not go about offending anyone in any way. I have to give this stellar read 3.5 stars.