Let me bring you up to speed on what stories I've been doing over the past week or so.
A set of twins were arrested for setting up a "one stop shop" for drugs. Their home was around the corner from a school: http://kdrv.com/news/local/233322
Friday, a man poured gasoline on himself and intentionally lit himself on fire in a city park. Some people nearby put out the flames. After being flown to Portland's burn center, he passed away the next day: http://kdrv.com/news/local/233712
A newsroom is like a classroom when it comes to spreading disease. I've been battling a cold and got to include some of my own sickness in this story about seasonal illnesses: http://kdrv.com/news/local/233896
Then there's this story. Remember the Criado family that was murdered in July, and the husband/father was arrested? I went to Bakersfield and covered the funeral. In that time, I developed a relationship with the victim's brother, Jesse.
Last week, on Tuesday, the murder suspect was in court and the Judge, anxious to get the justice system wheels moving, entered a plea of "not guilty" when the defense asked for more time. I gave Jesse a call (he lives in Phoenix) and talked with him about his feelings in the months since July.
Before dialing the number, my stomach was in knots, my heart racing. I hate having to talk to family of people who have died. I hate having to bring up horrible feelings. Even more, I hate doing it over the phone when impersonality is even higher.
Jesse picked up, saying "Hi Bryan," right off the bat. That calmed the nerves a bit. We talked for a little bit and then told him why I was calling. He said he would be happy to talk with me, but asked if we could do it the next day or later on in the evening. Deadlines loomed for me and I asked if he wouldn't mind doing it sooner than later. "You know what, for you, Bryan, yeah, I'll do that. You've treated us so great and got our message out there to the Medford community. Yeah, I'll do it."
We talked and he had the same message since Day 1: Forgiveness. Jesse is a man of strength, calm, and love. I'm inspired every time I get to talk to him. And I'm lucky to have met him.
Here's the story: http://kdrv.com/news/local/233458