Sunday, July 20, 2003

Over the past few days I've thought a lot about my brother-in-law, Denny. He and my sister, Terri, were married for about 10 years before she decided that she just couldn't live with him another day even though she loved him as much as ever. You see, Denny was a "rounder". He loved the woods and a creek bank, one night stands with wild women, and a little toke on a joint on a regular basis. She couldn't live with these things so they divorced.

Everyone who ever met him loved him. He was just about the friendliest guy you'd ever want to meet. He grew up in an upper middle-class family, his father worked for Production Credit as a loan officer and his mom was the secretary of the Baptist Church. Denny marched to a drummer quite different from theirs but he was still very much loved by them and his sister.

The first time I met Denny, we got into an argument. I don't remember what it was about, but I do remember telling him that he'd better take that silver spoon out of his mouth before I did it for him and shoved it up his ass! He often reminded me of this statement at different times during his term as my brother-in-law. He thought it was very funny and he said it made him decide from that day to stay on my good side.

After he and my sister divorced, he married again within a few months. It was not a happy marriage but he told me he missed my sister and just needed someone. The marriage only lasted a few months and during the time before the divorce became final I received a call one day from my stepmom to tell me that there had been a shooting and Denny was dead.

From the first the sheriff's department treated his shooting as a suicide. The funeral had to be delayed in order to do an autopsy and the rumors ran wild during those 10 days. His family knew without a doubt that Denny had not shot himself and after they read the police reports they couldn't believe that they'd decided to stick with the suicide ruling. The facts just did not add up.

Denny had spent the afternoon with is son (my nephew), and after dropping him off had returned home to get Jacob's clothes that he'd forgotten in the dryer.

His soon to be ex-wife was at his house when he returned home (this is her story).

She said they were supposed to talk so she was going with him to take Jacob's clothes to his mom's. After they were in the van, he told her he'd forgotten his wallet and went back into the house. Ten minutes later she heard a shot and went into the house and found him on the bed with a bullet wound in his head. She called 911 and then called a friend who made it there before the police and ambulance.

The police report states that two shots were fired, one went into the ceiling, the other into Denny's right temple. The phone records show that 3 calls were made during that time period BEFORE the 911 call was made.

The Sheriff's department still ruled this as a suicide. Denny's family has tried to get the State Police and every other law enforcement department they could think of involved but it's now over 12 years later and nothing has been done. His son and daughter have had to live with the questions but also the suggestion that their father would choose to leave them in such a terrible way.

I see his parents occasionally and his mother still asks me and every one who knew him if we think that he'd ever do something like that to himself. I know he did not, but how do you set the records straight?

I think I've been rambling again, but I feel better now for writing this.

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