To the readers of The Daily Sentinel:
I have waited awhile to write this letter to the readers of The Daily Sentinel. Now that those involved in the death of my son, Christopher, have been indicted, I feel it’s time.
Chris was murdered June 7, 2007, in his grandparent’s house in Clifton, W.Va. Christopher was 29 years old with a college degree and could have accomplished anything he set out to do. He was a wonderful young man who was loving and kind-hearted. His passion was golf and his Boxer, Ozzie.
Like so many in our area, Chris fell into the drug scene when he lost his job. Why not? It’s easy money, or is it? What price do you put on one’s life these days? How about $10.74? That was the amount of money Chris had in his pocket when Michael Haynie and Adam McClellan carried out the “hit.” The man who hired them, Lacey Dickens, went to school with my son.
Why did this happen when Chris wanted to get out of the drug world? I’m told Lacey wanted to be the big connection or the “Drug King Pin” of Meigs County and the surrounding area. How can anyone be so full of greed that he would hire a Columbus man to “snuff” out my son’s life for drugs and money? Neither of the two did he have. The shooter, Michael; the driver, Adam; and the provider of the gun, Lacey; practiced their plan several times the day before this all went down. They may not have had the intent to murder Chris, but the outcome was the same.
The shooter went in with a loaded gun, hit Shane Leach, who took off running, and proceeded to hit Chris in the head, knocking him down, causing the gun to fire a hole in the ceiling of the living room. When Chris got up, the shooter hit him again in the head, causing the gun to go off through the back of Chris’ head and exiting out the other side. My son was left to die in a pool of his own blood. It sounds like something out of a movie, doesn’t it?
Never in my wildest dreams would I think something so horrible could happen to my loving son and especially where we live. Then, I got a wake up call. It happens more than I know. I never knew how infested our area is with drugs until this happened.
Everyone is always so quick to offer their comments about the “low life” drug dealers. Chris was not a “low life.” He became a victim of his environment by hanging out with the wrong crowd. When the economy is so bad, you have bills, and you see no hope, people do stupid things, including my son. I’m not saying it was right, I’m saying we never know what we have to do to survive. Chris knew how we felt about his lifestyle. I think that’s why he stayed away from us for so long until he went into the rehab program. It’s very hurtful and hard for me to read the blogs on the websites.
My purpose of this letter is to personally thank two deputies of the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, Ricky Smith and Adam Smith. We are at the stage in the case where I feel comfortable writing my thoughts. Both of these young men, who went to school with Chris, spent tireless hours on my son’s case. They personally attended meetings with the FBI and the West Virginia state troopers. They did this as a deputy sheriff, first and a friend of a fellow classmate, second.
They informed us of each development and were very kind and compassionate. Everyone is quick to put our law officials down but I, along with my entire family, cannot say enough about these two young, caring professionals. This case could have gone unsolved without the cooperation and help of the FBI, the West Virginia troopers, Ricky and Adam. I think of so many families who have lost their children because of a senseless, violent crime and go unsolved, for years and years with no closure. We hope someday to have closure. We have to before we can begin to heal. We still face two men’s trials and the sentencing of all three involved with this case. The shooter pleading guilty to all charges saves us the heartache of going through one trial in Columbus. Lacey has been indicted now. I hope he is squirming in prison wondering if he’ll be able to beat this one.
I am pleading, those fighting drug addiction, to seek help. Friends and family members, get involved. Don’t let something like this happen to your loved one. If we could only go back and relive that day, we would whisk him somewhere far away and safe. Chris wanted out. He didn’t want to live that lifestyle anymore. That was his first step, wanting to quit. Please, take the step. Seek help, don’t let Chris’ death be in vain.
As parents, we need to talk to our state representatives, our senators, and local officials and tell them we want to help our children but our hands our tied. Ask for assistance for centers for our kids to seek help. Unless you are wealthy enough to put them in a clinic to de-tox, there seems to be no out for our young people. Never stop trying to help them. Drug abuse is a sickness, just like any other disease. It takes courage, willpower and support from family members to beat it. They will always fight their “need to feed.” Arresting them is not the answer. It only creates more hopelessness.
In closing, I ask one thing of those who knew Chris and know his family. Please don’t think bad of my son and say mean, hurtful things about druggies. Please continue to hold us up in prayer. By God’s love and the help of friends who care, we will get through this. It’s just hard to think that right now.
(Brenda Roush resides in Pomeroy).