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Sheriff Sentencing

Aired August 15, 2002 - 13:40   ET


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Lots of courtroom action today. While we continue to watch that sentencing case in California, we also want to taking to you to a sentencing hearing going on just outside of Atlanta involving former Dekalb County sheriff, Sidney Dorsey. He is now being sentenced in that courtroom there. What's happening right now is his successor Derwin Brown, who was the sheriff-elect, who was gunned down in cold blood right outside his own home in December 2000. Right now, his mother, Berdina Brown -- or now we have someone else who has just taken the stand after Berdina Brown, the mother of Derwin Brown, has spoken about her loss.
Let's listen in right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please go ahead and make a statement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As I sit here, I'm almost speechless. The first thing that comes to my mind is the day, December 15. Watching my father graduate was the happiest day of my life, because I know it's something that he wanted so bad. And the fact that he wanted it, I wanted it for him.

That day was a happy day. After we left graduation, we went Christmas shopping. And with him being away at school for so long, his grandkids hadn't seen him that often. I have three girls. At the time I only had two. I was three months pregnant. And the whole day, my father told them and told them that he had a bad back, and I know his back was killing him. But it didn't matter; he still carried them the whole way.

That night, when I got that phone call, I was at home. We just left my father. And we were laying across the bed looking at movies. And as soon as I got that phone call, I stopped breathing. I started screaming and hollering, and my cousin picked me up and she said, Brandy, you are pregnant, you have to breath, get yourself together. And my kids are sitting there , and I thought about it, and I said, God, they can't see me like this.

When we got my mom's house, all I could think about was I tried to think positive. My father was a beautiful person. A anybody that knew him -- I don't think he put a frown on anybody's face. Regardless of who you were, he made you smile. And I could not comprehend anybody harming him purposefully. And the only thing that coy think of was that somebody was arguing, and he was trying to help them, and maybe he got shot in the arm, maybe he got shot in the leg, but he's going to be OK.

When I to the hospital and uncle Crowkey (ph) looked at me, and he said, he didn't make it, to me, that was just -- I thought that was a sick joke. I said, you got to be kidding me, stop playing, he's OK. You know, to me, I'm the only girl out of five. My father was my world. You know, I mean, he was my breath. And he was invincible. I mean, 20 years of being a police officer, I never worried about him being shot. I never worried about him being hurt. That was never anything that crossed my mind. I always knew my father was coming home.

And at this point, you know, that day we left graduation and me and him was talking, and I'm thinking to myself, he's comfortable. He is going to be in an office. There's no reason -- I really don't have anything to worry about. And to know that someone shot my father purposefully, 17 times, 17 times, is just unheard of for me. I can't sleep at night, you know.

I have -- at the time my daughter was 5. Her and my father are as close as me as my father was. And the next morning, when everybody was at my house, because they couldn't go back to my mom's house, the first thing she walks out of the room and said, "Where's my papa?" I had to look at my 5-year-old daughter and tell her that her papa is gone. She will never see him again. To me, the look on her face, of her knowing that she would never see him again, that is one of the most painful things that I had to deal with.

My daughter is in counseling because of her dealing with the fact that somebody killed her papa, and she is very intelligent. She knows exactly what's going on. She's in counseling, having emotional problems.

I have a year-old daughter that will never know her papa. I was three months pregnant, and one thing about my father, every pregnancy, no matter how many kids I would have had, it was like the first grandchild to him. I was only three months pregnant, and all he kept saying, this one better be a boy. We wanted a boy. And he was just excited with me just being three months as he was with that first grandchild.

And to know that he was not here, to know that I had to go through nine months of a pregnancy and my father not being here, it just -- it crushes me. It crushes me. You know, my daughter, they have nightmares in the middle of the night. They wake up crying for their papa. You know, he's not grandfather that dropped in and dropped out. He came, he took them to the movies. He spent time with them. He called them on the phone. If my daughter called him and said she wanted Starburst at 10:00 at night, he brought her Starburst.

So it's not the type of thing, well, granddad is gone, we will get over it. They are devastated because of this. And personally, I don't want Sidney Dorsey to ever walk the streets again, not in my lifetime, not in my kids's lifetime, not in their kids's lifetime, because they -- like I said, they know what's going on. And I'm sure with all of the media play, and I'm going to teach them, they are going to know who their grandfather was.

Therefore, if he wants it get out in their lifetime, they would know, and I think that that would affect them. I just don't think that -- I look that and I try, and I say, OK we have to sympathize with his family as well because they are losing someone. But you know what, you can see your son. He can come and see you. You all can visit. You can talk to him. My kids cannot talk to their grandfather. I cannot talk to my father. And the relationship that me and my father had, you couldn't even begin to understand.

And to know that I don't have him to call on, I just want to get up and go to lunch, or whether I just need somebody to talk to. He was my father, he was my friend, he was my life, and you took that away from me.

I can't fathom what would make somebody do such a thing. I don't care how bad you have anger at someone, how bad -- you can hate somebody, but how could you -- what gives you the right to take somebody's life. You know, that person -- he had a family. He woke up in the morning, and he spoke to somebody. He said good morning. He visited people. You took that away from us. And I think it all should be taken from you for the rest of your life. You should die in jail. You should never get out. And if it was up to me, you wouldn't see your family. I want to you suffer just as we are suffering. I want you to suffer just as my father is suffering.

I'm finished.


WHITFIELD: You have been listening to daughter of slain sheriff- elect Derwin Brown. Derwin Brown was killed right outside his own home in Dekalb County, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. In December of 2000, the man on the left side of your screen, Sidney Dorsey. He was a former Dekalb County Sheriff. He was found guilty earlier this summer of his murder.




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