Everybody's Friend Leonard
My next door neighbor and the best friend I've had in a long time was murdered, dismembered and burned November 18, 2009. His son stands accused and is awaiting trial. It took almost 4 months to the day for the coroner to release his body for the Catholic funeral. The funeral church service and grave side service was all over in an hour and 20 minutes with no one that knew him saying a public word. I was so mad I didn't go into the reception hall afterwards, I just drove home. The past 8 months have been horrific with all the stuff going through my head all the time.
Let back up some here to share a bit of my background. Back in high school a friend was killed by a drunk driver.
Twenty one years of military service did not result in life long friends because I knew that we would soon be separated and move on to new duty stations.
My wife and I bought our first piece of real estate in 1993 and I retired in 1994. In 1995, we got new neighbors. A dysfunctional group, but nice friendly neighbors.
Over the years we remained friendly/neighborly. Sharing water when a well went out, catching each other's critters that escaped their confines etc.
Leonard was a drinker, but a friendly one. I too, was a drinker. One drink is too many and two isn't enough, but I did stupid things when I drank - so I quit a lot of years ago. Anyway, I came to accept his drinking, he didn't drive after drinking, which was a huge issue for me, and he was a pretty funny guy, drunk or sober.
Almost 2 years ago he was injured when the school bus he was working under was driven over him. His wife had moved out and the two boys had lives of their own.
Anyway I was helping with his therapy, usually walking and talking about this that and the other thing. Getting to know each other kind of stuff. Wow did he have stuff going on. (Sorry I can't publicize until after the trial, I do not want to jeopardize the case.)
There was a fire next door that Wednesday morning, no answer at the door, so I went on back to put some water on it. Got the fire department out for the overhaul and I went to work. Got a call that Leonard was missing, did I know who might have given him a ride somewhere. I gave up the names I could think of and on the way home I came up with another one. Went over to tell the officers present and was told "Problem solved, he's here." So I went back home, did my chores, had dinner and went to bed.
Next morning the sheriff is still there - something is wrong. So I go over - Leonard was in the pit in the barn that burnt. The son was arrested Wednesday for numerous parole violations (yeah he has a history of making bad choices) and by Thursday morning they added murder. A few interviews later, we pretty much figured out what happened, but still no answer as to why.
I've got to go see my counselor and then off to work.
Thank you for reading and letting me share. There is so much more to this and my mind goes there all the time. But even so, some days are good and some are horrific. So far today is ok.
So long for now.