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).