Stephen John Dazey
18 Years Old

September 27, 1971 to February 4, 1990

Stephen was our third son and such a blessing. We were told not to have any more children after two miscarriages and one stillbirth. God was good to us and Stephen was born. Now we had three wonderful sons.

Steve was a gentle, sweet child, always had a smile on his face. Stephen and I had a special bond between us and it continued to grow as he got older. He would come home from school or playing, throw his arm around me and say "I love you" and I would say "I love you more." We would go back and forth until we agreed we loved each other just the same. He was my hearts delight, so precious.

He loved to play with the boys next door. We had lots of picnics, We enjoyed many other outdoor activities together. Stephen's dad taught him to swim in the Applegate River. They spent many hot summer afternoons at the swimming hole, diving from the rocks and playing in the water.

He and his dad enjoyed riding dirt-bikes together in the hills around our home. Steve went to school full time and worked part-time after school and weekends so he could buy his first dirt- bike. He was so proud and took such good care of it.

He got his driver's license and wanted a car, so we fronted him the money to buy his first car. He paid back all of it to us. Stephen ws so dependable. We could always count on Stephen's word.

Stephen was such an easy child to raise. One day, he came home with a beautiful tea pot for me, just because he had heard me say I had a tea pot from each of his brothers. So now, I had one from all my boys. He enjoyed being with family and friends, and always a pleasure to be around.

We miss Stephen's wonderful smile, laughter and the warmth he gave to us and everyone he met. He would have graduated from high school in June but that never happened. He died too soon.

We miss our precious child. We will always love you, Stephen.

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE MURDER

Stephen left that Sunday around noon to get things set up at his part-time job with a local restaurant. When he finished his work, he had an hour or so before he had to be back for the dinner crowd. So he went to see a friend he had recently met at school.

When he arrived, the boy was playing around with a .22 rifle and he pointed it at Stephen and shot him in the chest. It was a blank, but scared Steve, and they had words. Things settled down and they started watching a video. The boy got up and went into the bedroom where he loaded his father's .9 mm pistol with one bullet. Steve went into the bedroom and the boy pointed the gun at him and told him to back up. Steve backed up and down the hall, then out into the living room where he was told to put his hands up. He did and at that point, Michael Taylor shot Stephen in the head and killed him instantly.

That afternoon at 4:00, the police chaplain came to our door and asked if we were Stephen's parents. When we said yes, he told us Stephen was dead from a gunshot wound and was there anyone he could call for us. The shock can not be put into words.

The killer had a counselor with him in jail all night. We learned that the justice system is for the killer, not the victim or their family.

The story the killer told the police was he didn't know why he had killed Steve, he "just felt like it."

Michael Taylor was sentenced to five years for First Degree Manslaughter with a firearm. He served just four years and 18 days before being released.

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