RIP Justin Matthew Brooks, Aug 17,1980 - June 24, 2002

RIP Justin Matthew Brooks Aug 17,1980 - June 24, 2002

Justin Matthew Brooks’ website domain name was ” ” (someone else owns it now). That tells you everything you need to know about Justin Brooks.

My friend Justin was murdered. He was stabbed to death by James, my friend. Justin was also Jame’s best friend. It’s been almost seven years since Justin was killed. James went over to Justin’s apartment with a bowie knife and stabbed Justin over 60 times with it. Tell me, who could do that to another human being? Who would even deserve to have their life snuffed out like that? Justin had defensive cuts and stab wounds on his hands and arms. He died trying to escape from his attacker through the front door of his apartment. He was killed by his best friend, by my friend. In the trial for James they determined that Justin suffered trying to defend himself. Justin died from massive blood loss.

It breaks my heart.

If you had asked me 10 years ago who do you think is the least likely to be murdered by a friend? My answer would have been Justin Matthew Brooks. Justin was and still is the kindest, most good hearted and gentle person I have ever known. He did not have a bad bone in his body and I feel like it was a privilege and an honor to simply have known him and even more special that I was able to call him a true friend. I actually knew his younger brother Jeff first, as we were in the same grade and throughout middle school and high school had quite a few classes together. Justin was unique even more so than the rest of us. We are all unique and special as human beings but Justin was just one of those people who are on a slightly different level than the rest of us. I remember he always had this little bag hanging from his neck. One day at school during lunch I asked him what was in it. He told me his religious artifacts were inside it. I asked if I could see them and he smiled at me and as his smile turned to a grin he said

“Absolutely not, I could show you but then I would have to kill you.”

And he said it with a big cheesy smile, he always made funny comments like that. I wondered what was in it all year and eventually he told me but wondering about it is something I will always remember. It was just one of those little things I remember most. Justin was a grade or two ahead of me in school but even though he was older he always treated me as an equal and I truly looked up to him and admired him. I remember the summer I moved across the state to Seattle I was so greatly disappointed. That fall Justin was going to take me mushroom hunting with him in the hills and pastures surrounding our small town and I was very excited about it. Not because of all the mushrooms we would find, but because Justin was so god damn fun to hang out with and I just really looked forward to it. Justin had bought this wonderful book that was a guide for Pacific North West mushroom hunters and he was eager to try the book out. It told you where to find edible mushrooms and what to look for and how to tell them apart from dangerous mushrooms. It sounded like it would be an adventure. I never did make it back over the mountains that fall and as fate would have it I never did get to go mushroom picking with him.

The stories of his famous and over-the-top greetings are true. I will never forget his greetings. One specific day stays very vivid in my memory. I was walking off-campus, it was lunch time at high school and as I made my way up the sidewalk I was startled by someone screaming my name at the top of their lungs, very loudly. My heart climbed back down my throat and I looked up and there was Justin heading down the sidewalk towards me. I laughed, as I often did around Justin and especially when he was approaching me. You see, he was wearing his usual camo pants, army boots and black t-shirt and of course his brightly colored jesters cap, complete with bells. He also did not just walk towards you. He bent his arms up above his head and kind of wobbled side-to-side like a monkey or chimp might walk upright. He did that for at least 50 feet before he reached me and grabbed me up in a huge bear hug. He let go and calmly like he had not just monkey walked to me and bear hugged me, asked

” So, whats up?”

I used to get a little embarrassed when he did that because it was always in public and people who didn’t know him always stared and gave funny looks. I used to be very shy, so the attention and things used to make me squirm but Justin didn’t care, he would make you laugh no matter how goofy or silly he had to be. And he loved doing it in public, in front of everyone… but, that was Justin. Fun, care-free and the kindest guy you will ever know. I can’t tell you how much I miss the silly stuff like that. I can’t tell you how much I miss his friendship.

I did not go to Justin’s funeral. I just could not bring myself to do it. I have never visited his grave site, I can’t do it. Part of me feels like if I don’t see his grave than it’s easier to pretend it didn’t happen. That he is still here with us on this Earth. But he is, Justin is gone and I still can’t believe it. Justin is dead, he is gone, murdered by James who was Justin’s friend in high school and post-high school. James was my best friend in middle school (he moved away after 8th grade, came back for 10th grade, I moved away after 10th grade). James, who I spent many weekends sleeping over at his mother’s house, shooting BB guns at his mom’s rose bushes and getting yelled at, playing board games and other innocent activities.

James McLean murdered Justin Brooks.

What? I still can’t wrap my mind around it. I still can’t believe it. I still can’t comprehend it. It is still absolutely surreal and mind boggling. Surreal is an understatement.

I miss you Justin, very much. Rest in peace my friend.

Some of you are probably curious to know more about this unbelievable event. I will post articles here for you to read on your own if you want to know more.

This is a great memorial page written by Justin’s father, it’s short but perfectly demonstrates the kind of person Justin was. I suggest you read it. Justin was an amazing human being.

Here is two great quotes from Justin:

“My religion says that I am here to serve others. That is where I gain most of my jollies and such.”
-Justin Brooks

“Meditation allows oneself to see things in a new light. Meditation is more than just a mental thing, it is a whole body thing. Your body communicates itself to your mind. Then through any means you want, you can delete the undesirable things you see in yourself.”

-Justin Brooks

Justin Matthew Brooks memorial page

Below is a link to a search of the Daily Record news archive and you can click on the links and read about what happened to Justin, the days leading up to what happened and the trial of James McLean and the aftermath of what happened:

Search results of the Daily Record news archive (links of news articles about what happened).

I did not cry when my grandpa died. I did not cry when my aunt died. I did not cry when my friend was murdered.

I did cry, sobbing like a little boy, when my dog was hit by a car and killed.

How messed up is that? Is there something wrong with me? The day my grandpa died a bunch of relatives came over to his house to grieve and do such things together. I was living in my grandpa’s camper that year of my life. My father had moved across the state to Seattle for a better job. My brother, mother and myself all lived in grandpa’s camper which was parked in his yard. Less than two weeks prior to his death my grandfather had been complaining of severe hip pain for at least six months but the doctors could not find anything wrong with him. Then, they found it. He had lung cancer which had spread throughout his body and into his bones, hence the hip pain. The doctors said he had months to live. Less than two weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer, he passed away. I will talk more about him at a later date. Back to the day he passed and the family gathering at his house. He had a small house and it was completely full of people. Some were quiet, solemn.  Some were crying and hugging each other. Some were laughing and sharing stories and memories. I was outside, sitting on the porch of his huge garage, which was a separate building directly behind his house. My uncle came out the back door and walked straight for me. I was spending most of my time outside because I did not feel comfortable in a room full of sad people. I stood up as he approached me and he hugged me and put his hands on my shoulders. He told me it’s okay to cry and asked if I had cried yet and that nobody inside had seen me cry. I was disturbed and annoyed that anyone was even paying attention to whether or not I cried. Who the hell’s business was it but mine? Why were they intruding on my personal space like that? I wanted to walk away but he had ahold of me by the shoulders.

I simply replied “no…”.

He got upset with me and shook me and asked what was wrong with me and why I was not crying? I could not find an answer for him. I just stood there being shaken and feeling extremely annoyed by the whole situation. I could not answer him that day and I still can’t today. I don’t know why I did not cry for my grandpa, who I was pretty close to. He was a WWII vet so he had lots of cool stories, knew every card game there was and he was a really good human being. Everyone loved him. Why did I cry over my dog and not for my relatives and friend? That was a bad year. A couple deaths in the family and bad luck happening to me all year long. My friend who I was secretly in love with got pregnant by another guy, her boyfriend. My best friend who had Type II diabetes was getting worse even at his young age. My other very good friend moved four or five states away. My $400.00 bmx bike which was a birthday present got stolen three months after I got it. My cousin built me a new bmx bike out of spare parts and it got stolen a month after she gave it to me. I got ripped off by a guy who I thought was a friend. Back then I smoked marijuana sometimes and my dealer was all out so I called my friend. He met me outside the grocery store and told me his dealer did not like new people so he would go get it and be right back. He never came back and when I called his house his sister said he was not home. I did not believe her. I called back and altered my voice a bit and told her I was Titan, my so called “friend” ‘s best friend. The son of a b*tch answered the phone and I confronted him. He staggered out some lame excuse and hung up the phone. He avoided me the rest of the year. Even though it was only over $40, the fact he would do that to me when we had hung out so many times really pissed me off. Why would you do that to someone you know? To someone you kicked it with quite a bit? Someone you had gone to school with for 10 years? I just didn’t get it. I still don’t. Back to my damn bikes, a year later I found out both of them were stolen by my friend. Someone I had spent many nights sleeping over at his place throughout our childhood, someone I skipped a lot of classes with. What the hell? He stole them and sold off the individual parts. I have never seen or talked to him again. That was 10 or 11 years ago.

Am I weird because I didn’t cry when they died? Is there something wrong with me because I cried my eyes out like a little baby when my freakin dog died?

I don’t know.