Victim's kin share memories at court

Family sees trial publicity as tribute to their brother

October 18, 2003|By Kimberly A.C. Wilson | Kimberly A.C. Wilson,SUN STAFF

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- As prosecutors and defense attorneys whittled down the number of jurors who will decide John Allen Muhammad's fate, relatives of the sniper's seventh victim descended on the courthouse with memories and photographs -- but no rancor.

"If he had to die the way that he did ... this is a wonderful opportunity to memorialize him around the world," said Robert Meyers, referring to the publicity that his brother's killing has received.

Meyers, the youngest of Dean H. Meyers' three brothers, and his wife, Lori, toured Courtroom 10 yesterday during a break in jury selection. They were accompanied by the eldest brother, Larry, and other relatives.

Together, the family presented a united front to a scrum of television cameras and newspaper photographers on behalf of the nature lover and family man killed Oct. 9 last year by a single bullet fired into a Sunoco gas station near Manassas.

"Dean was a person who loved life, who loved people and he loved the environment," said Larry Meyers, who expects to testify about his slain brother early in the trial. "He was a No. 1 guy in so many ways, and he's sorely missed."

Both brothers said they harbored no bitterness toward suspects John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, nor expectations about the outcomes of their trials. Larry Meyers, who served on a jury in a capital murder case last year, said the family felt confident leaving their fate in the hands of Virginia jurors.

"They [Muhammad and Malvo] were regular guys at one time and something happened ... that's why they're here and we're here -- to find out why," he added. "We believe that the wheels of justice will come up with an appropriate justice here. We do not have a personal preference."

The fourth Meyers brother, Greg, didn't make the trip to Virginia Beach.

Robert Meyers explained that each of the brothers sought his own path through the pain of losing Dean.

"The opportunity to be here may be closure for one, heartbreak for the other," he said, showing reporters a photo of Dean in a canoe. "Everybody has different responses to the situation and everybody has different responsibilities back home."

"We were photography buffs and the last time we went out to take pictures it was near a covered bridge, along a road I drive to work," Larry Meyers said. "Sometimes the eyes get moist, especially when I approach the bridge."

The Meyers families planned to remain in Virginia Beach until Larry Meyers gives his testimony next week and return later in the trial.

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