I first wrote about my high school friend, Joel Morris, five and a half years ago in this post and again two years later here. When he killed his father the following year, I wrote about it here.
The long saga came to an end in a courtroom today as he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of his father, Bob Morris.
The result is not surprising.
I had been subpoenaed by his attorney to testify, but after talking to him, he decided that I probably wouldn't be helpful to Joel's case. He was probably correct in making that decision.
I've thought a lot about Joel this week. I was a sophomore in high school when I first met him. We had our ups and downs over the years but he remained one of the most intensely loyal friends I've ever had. If I had not watched him mentally deteriorate with my own eyes, it would be impossible to reconcile the Joel I knew with the person who murdered his father.
I loved him like a brother.
Since that fateful day in April of 2011, I've wondered what I would feel when a jury ultimately handed down a verdict on Joel.
I was surprised to find that the feeling was largely relief.
As much as I loved him, I was scared to death of the idea of ever seeing him out on the street again.