Raindrops struck the treehouse in a pelting frenzy. Hours passed, thunder and lightning now accompanied the rainfall. There was no signal to the cell phone, the steady downpour brought a comforting lull as sleep has overtaken the weary child. The treehouse became a refuge in the afternoon, as sobs subsided in the lengthening shadows of night. Stillness enveloped in the darkness cloaking the brutal world below the branches of the sturdy oak tree.
The fourth of July weekend, stretched out before them as an endless party. Welfare checks arrived by direct deposit on Friday. Misty McGee drew out enough money to pickup two twelve packs of Budweiser along with hotdogs, hamburgers, buns, chips, dip, chocolate chip cookie dough for cookies and two half-gallon containers of vanilla ice cream. Tim got off work early, nothing on his mind except rest and relaxation the entire weekend. The modest mobile home where Tim, Misty, and daughter Kaylie, sons Cameron and Timmy lived in the quiet trailer park.
The first indication that something wasn’t right came on Monday morning when Tim failed to appear at the Auto Parts and Service where Tim worked. Neighbors according to News Channel 5, reported that the weekend had been basically quiet. Tim and Misty had celebrated the 4th of July with a cookout and fireworks purchased at a local stand. As law enforcement entered the premises the sight before them was two adults shot to death in their bedroom. The television was on and two young boys played with toy cars and trucks in the floor in the bedroom they shared.
What had transpired in the hours of the fourth of July on Saturday night and Monday morning? The monster waiting in the closet had vivid blue eyes, clear complexion, and curly brown hair framing his face. As time passed he listened to sounds of laughter emitted from the bathroom where the boys played in the tub. Silly songs, loud splashes as the mom prepared her children for bedtime. Hearing a soft, gentle voice reading a story as the boys settled in for a night of sleep. Big sister said goodnight to the family, staying up to watch a movie. Dad had already fallen asleep at the end of a long and relaxing day.
Having for the last three years, relying on my mother’s sister to care for me, I spent most of my time with my first cousin, Derrick. In my mind, I Trevor always referred to him as monster. Not all monsters hid in the closet, some walked around in broad daylight. Stepping out after him, I stretched my legs and walked over to the couch to sit down. I viewed the TV screen, the channel was on " The Pet Collective." I loved that program. It was always calm and relaxing, lots of fun video of kittens and puppies. Most of the time my life was anything but calm.
Derrick entered the parent’s bedroom, I saw him point the handgun at the couple and shoot. The mass under the comforter squirmed, at my feet but I never let on. Derrick motioned for me to hurry as he motioned for me it was time to leave. Thinking, this time he has struck too close, we lived on the same street as this trailer park, in the same neighborhood. On Monday morning, I watched from our kitchen window the police cruisers, ambulance, and news crew descend on the trailer park. Trevor was sleeping, as I left the house and followed neighbors as they made their way toward the crime scene.
From my view, I saw a young boy answer the door when a police officer announce who he was and to open the door. The police officer was enveloped inside, as another policeman took statements from a couple of neighbors from the trailer park. About twenty minutes after law enforcement arrived, an elderly couple came forward and spoke to the police A female officer stepped outside of the trailer holding hands with the little boys appearing to be about 3 and 5 years of age. Immediately, I began looking for the girl I saw last night wrapped in the comforter in front of the television. She did not come out with them, so I quickly went to the old oak tree, looking up at the treehouse. I climbed the tree, by the aluminum ladder I found alongside the trailer. I noticed the ladder made of rope and been pulled up and placed in the treehouse by Kaylie. Early afternoon by the time I entered the treehouse, a cool breeze was blowing. When she saw me she recognized me, knew that I was deaf and was not afraid of me. I helped her get to the ground, her arms holding on around my neck. Once safely on the ground, she ran into the arms of her grandmother. The family were allowed to leave, before the ambulance removed the bodies of Misty and Tim McGee.
On the 6th of July, Derrick Keller 19, was charged with two accounts of first degree murder, two counts of felony murder, unlawful possession of a weapon, aggravated robbery and aggravated child neglect. I turned myself in not as a murderer, but as an eyewitness and doing nothing to warn or prevent what happened. I was scared straight, not of what the consequences for me might be. I was scared of what the future held for me if I remained a follower. A follower that follows a person desensitized to the value of life as well as property belonging to someone else.
I, Trevor Morgan, have a renewed sense of personal freedom. For the next five years I will be imprisoned with the possibility of parole. Meanwhile, I have had visitation with the grandparents that have forgiven me, thanking me for coming forward to communicate through sign language who the perpetrator was. This brings someone to justice, none of us knowing the true motive of the crime. Children in stressful and trauma situations according to courtroom history have proven to reveal that they are unable to accurately recall memories of the event. My aunt from now on will live on in denial that her son is a criminal. The children in this family were spared, and my cousin, will never harm another soul.