Scott Darwin Michael
13 Years Old

September 16, 1968 to April 7, 1982

My disappointment in having another son was evident when I had to ask the nurses three times if they were sure my baby was a boy. But I do not have the words to describe the love I felt when I held this beautiful baby. The aura surrounding him made-up for every prior and future difficulty. Scott was born at 8AM in St. Joseph’s Hospital at Memphis, Tennessee. He weighed five pounds 14 ounces, was 18 inches long with gorgeous skin and eyes.

Scott came home to brothers Duane, age five and Marshall, age three who found him hard to handle for the next 13 years. To say Scott was entirely different from them is an understatement. Scott doubled his weight by his six-week check-up and proved to be my “best little eater” from then on. Because he was rambunctious and full of energy, we knew he was going to be “a handful.” When Scott was three years old, a neighbor commented that he was so pretty, he could be in commercials.

Scott inherited his father’s personality of not being ignored under any circumstance. Even negative recognition was better than none! Scott needed to be shown more love and attention than others and I will always believe that was what motivated all his misbehavior. He had a way of knowing what would “pull your chain” and the nerve to do it. However; Scott could endear himself to you just as quickly by putting an arm around you and giving you a wonderful hug. All his teachers were challenged because he learned quickly and got bored with repetition, so he felt the need to entertain.

The love Scott had for people was obvious when he insisted on shortening a vacation to Washington, D.C. to attend his grandfather’s funeral and to faithfully visit a neighbor who was dying from breast cancer. It seemed he had an affinity to them.

Scott liked to eat, to laugh and he loved animals. He stated once that he would like to own a hot dog stand when he grew-up and name it “Mike’s Mutt.”

When being scolded for using curse words, Scott asked me what made one word any worse than another. He was honest and sincere in asking.

Scott occasionally played football and soccer. It was Scott who offered to watch me ski down the bunny hill and encouraged me to try the green slopes.

Scott delighted in being my dance partner at my niece’s wedding the weekend before his death.

The morning of April 7th, 1982, Scott and I talked about an approach to a diet and exercise program for him. On his way out the front door, he said “Bye, Mom” and I replied “Bye, Scott. Have a nice day.” I did not watch as he walked-up the path to the bus stop as I had many times before.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Scott and his friend Jon Kleinhans were on the east side of Deer Creek Junior High School around noon on April 7th, 1982.

It was lunch break and they were out-of-bounds. The school had a “year-round” track schedule at the time. Two other boys who were off track, had been shooting at prairie dogs in a field north of the school when they thought they had been sighted by a sheriff in a patrol car.

The boys hid their rifle but Jason Rocha, 14, tucked-away the .38 revolver he had stolen from his grandfather’s collection. He went into the school. He showed it to several people but no one reported him. He then went outside to Scott, Jon and Jason’s friends. Jason walked-up to Jon and pointed the gun at his head. Jon could see the bullets in the cylinder and said “Don’t shoot! It’s loaded!”

Jason then approached Scott lying on a knoll. He leaned-over Scott, pointed the gun at his chest and shot the bottom part of his heart. Scott got to his feet, staggered to the bike rack and collapsed.

Scott was pronounced dead at 12:10PM by the Flight-for-Life paramedics.

Jason Rocha was tried as an adult. He plea-bargained to Second-Degree Murder and was sentenced to 12 years. His sentence was automatically reduced to six years. He spent five and one-half years in a Closed Adolescent Treatment Center.

At Jason’s parole hearing in August 1987, he was asked why he shot Scott. His reply was “I just wanted to look bad.” When asked what his plans were, he said he wanted to go to school at Colorado University in Boulder.

Jason has never contacted the family of Scott Michael nor shown any remorse.

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Scott Michael