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Family puts anger to rest by forgiving killer

March 11, 2007|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,Sun Reporter

He was supposed to be there the night Brian was killed, but after a long day's work, a drive from his home in Upper Marlboro to the city seemed a bit much. He passed.

About 1:30 that morning, Williams jumped out of a car with a rifle in hand, court testimony revealed.

Brian and a friend were coming from a bar in Canton Square when they saw Williams. The friend ran one way; Brian ran the other. The friend testified that Williams yelled a curse word before opening fire. Brian was shot once. He staggered a couple of blocks to a grassy lot near a nursing home and died. His body was discovered hours later.

From time to time, Brandon thinks about whether things might have been different if he had been there, but he does not dwell on the hypothetical. Nor does he dwell on Williams.

"I have the power to make a choice," he says. "And I have to choose how I'm going to act, how I'm going to react and how I'm going to go forward. I was able to forgive and let go."

Brandon sought counseling after his brother's death. Those sessions helped him keep his perspective while listening to Williams protest his innocence to a judge during the sentencing.

"You've got to forgive somebody, whether they admit or not," Brandon says. "In order for me to move on -- whether he says he's sorry and feels sorry and tries to make it up to you, or whether he's nonchalant and doesn't care -- you have to forgive him."

A talk with God

Martina Jones, 54, also sought counseling. She took a bereavement class, which helped her sort out her feelings.

Most helpful, though, was a conversation she says she had with God.

"He says, `Forgive the killer.' I was like, `Are you talking to me? I'm asking you why my son was killed, and you're telling me to forgive the killer.' But you have to do what God tells you to do."

She says she will miss the little things. Sundays -- when Brian would come over and root for the Dallas Cowboys -- stand out.

Martina, with no allegiance to a professional football team before, now considers herself a Cowboys fan.

"I have had some long conversations with God, because spiritually, I was on top of the world. This was the hardest thing that I've ever had to do," she says.

A `dreaded' phone call

Gerald Jones, 55, was in Virginia with his wife when the call came. They were headed out the door to a retirement party for a friend as the phone rang. Brandon was on the other end.

"You get phone calls all the time, but I've got two phone calls in my life that I've just dreaded," Gerald says. "Both calls were when my sons were gone."

Gerald says he and his wife raised good kids. They taught their children who was boss early, instilling discipline with a long list of rules.

The tough love worked. All three earned college degrees. None had trouble with the law.

Williams, however, has a lengthy criminal history. Gerald knows this, and he says it is one of the reasons why Williams' soul needs mercy.

"I don't know what that kid's life was like. The only thing that I can hope and pray is that before he leaves this world, he asks the Lord for forgiveness," he says. "We've asked the Lord to forgive him because whatever the case may be, there is nothing we can do to bring our son back. So we just have to deal with that."

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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