Aaron Jay Laws
35 Years Old

May 4, 1961 to June 23, 1996

Extraordinary is the only word to describe Aaron. He was extremely clever, creative and idealistic; yet, very sensitive. His compassion, understanding and love were unequaled. He kindly shared all that he had. Aaron always put others' needs before his own. He went out of his way to make sure he would never cause any pain or grief to anyone. Besides his inner beauty, he was extraordinarily handsome.

He climbed Mt. Adams, in the State of Washington at the age of 9. As a youngster, he played judo, soccer and was a swim team member for many years. He enjoyed autocrossing, hunting, fishing and any activities connected with nature. He loved the mountains as well as the ocean beaches. He loved traveling in Canada and Mexico. As a high school student, he was chosen for the People-to-People Ambassador Program, living with host families in six different European countries.

Aaron earned two college diplomas, a Phi Theta Kappa pin and many personal and corporate awards. What a tragic waste of his talents and leadership qualities. He was a vital, contributing member of society. He volunteered hundreds of hours to local, state and national political campaigns. He studied constantly. He was often referred to as "Mr. Encyclopedia." Aaron had the ability to converse accurately with anyone on virtually any topic. His knowledge took your breath away. He was brilliant.

He was very disciplined and exercised his body as well as his mind. He worked out and ran religiously, eating only healthy low-fat meals, depriving himself of his passion for rich foods. Aaron was also a gourmet cook. He planned to live longer than anyone. He was a regular blood donor. His desire to be a complete organ donor could not be fulfilled due to the manner of his brutal death.

He was a truly unique, remarkable individual. No parents could have had a son more responsible or dependable. As an adult, Aaron always changed his plans, never asking us to change ours, so we could spend special occasions together as a family. He was a major caregiver for his grandmother who died of Alzheimer's. He was a mentor to his younger brother, Alan, and they cared deeply for each other. Even though Aaron's marriage ended in divorce a few years before his murder, he and his ex-wife, Cindi, remained very close and the best of friends. Aaron had no children at the time of his death to carry on for him.

Double benches were dedicated to honor Aaron's memory along the Columbia River in Leslie Groves Park, Richland, Washington. He was a great blessing to our family. We are very thankful that we were given the privilege of sharing part of our lives with him. Aaron will live on in our hearts forever.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

As it was his nature to help the less fortunate, Aaron Laws, 35, rented a room in his basement to a newly released inmate, Scott Britton, 26, who agreed to stay "clean and sober." In the early morning hours of June 23, 1996, while Aaron was asleep in his bed, Britton came upstairs, entered the bedroom, took a 44 special revolver out of the closet and shot Aaron through the heart.

Britton proceeded to pour gasoline throughout the house. He then set the place on fire, hoping to cover up his crime. There was not way to establish the time of Aaron's death due to his body's exposure to the tremendous heat and fire. His body was not released for 100 days.

Scott Britton was arrested and charged with first degree murder and first degree arson. Speculation is that Aaron asked Scott to move due to his relapse into drug usage.

The first trial commenced on April 14, 1997, and ended in a mistrial due to juror misconduct on May 16, 1997. The second trial started on September 8, 1997 and resulted in a conviction on October 7, 1997 on both charges. The perpetrator was sentenced on October 24, 1997 and is currently serving life without the possibility of parole due to his "three strikes" status. He has a long criminal history. There is an appeal pending.

back to 20

Aaron Laws