Monday, June 21, 2004
Dennehy reported missing a year ago
The shooting death of Baylor University basketball player Patrick Dennehy a year ago has taken a toll on some of those closest to him.
Dennehy's mother and stepfather have filed for divorce after
more than 15 years of marriage. Their problems seemed to escalate
after Dennehy's death, said his stepfather, Brian Brabazon. Both
continue to grieve for the 6-foot-10 player who dreamed of playing
"It's sadness now. The anger for me has subsided," Brian
Brabazon said. "I think about it every day. All I want is the
truth to come out, why it happened and what happened."
Dennehy's former teammate, Carlton Dotson, is awaiting an August murder trial. He faces life in prison if convicted of gunning down his friend in a field of chest-high weeds near the Waco
The Baylor men's basketball program has acknowledged major NCAA infractions and faces self-imposed sanctions, stemming from misdeeds by the coach who has since stepped down. Baylor also plans to implement new recruiting policies, including criminal background checks for student-athlete transfers.
Baylor's president, Robert Sloan, said Monday that the past year was one of the most tragic and difficult for the world's largest
"It's very painful to experience the loss of a student in any
circumstance, but especially circumstances like these," Sloan
said. "What's important is to take whatever happened and learn
Brian Brabazon knew something was wrong last Father's Day when Dennehy, 21, didn't call their Carson City, Nev., home. The
couple's concern grew after they found out his friends and a coach
hadn't heard from him in about a week.
The Brabazons reported Dennehy missing June 19, 2003 -- seven days after authorities believe he was killed. His car was found
June 25 in a Virginia Beach, Va., parking lot about 160 miles from
Dotson's home in Hurlock, Md.
Dennehy's body was not found until late July, a few days after
Dotson was arrested. Authorities have refused to discuss a motive
or say whether Dotson led them to the body.
Dotson, now 22, remains jailed and is to be evaluated by a
defense psychiatrist. His attorneys said they have not decided
whether to seek an insanity defense.
After Dennehy disappeared, the men's basketball program was
rocked with revelations of NCAA violations, which led to the August
resignations of coach Dave Bliss and athletic director Tom Stanton.
School investigators later discovered that Bliss paid up to
$40,000 in tuition for two players and improperly solicited $87,000
from Baylor boosters. The probe also revealed that staff members
did not properly report some players' failed drug tests.
The infractions led to self-imposed sanctions, including reduced scholarships, an extra year of probation and reduced contact
between coaches and recruits. The school also banned itself from
postseason play this season.
Baylor also faced a wrongful-death lawsuit by Patrick Dennehy Sr., who had little contact with his son until a few years ago. But the judge threw out the case in February, saying the school never
could have predicted the athlete's death.
Then last month, Valorie Brabazon, Dennehy's mother, reached an undisclosed settlement with Baylor after agreeing not to sue.
But Brian Brabazon, who raised Dennehy since he was a child, believes Baylor should have done more to protect his stepson.
"Originally, I wanted to bring Baylor down to its knees,"
Brabazon said. "I'm not a greedy person; I wanted Baylor to say
they were wrong. They never said, 'We're sorry. We should have done
this better.' "
Dennehy's stepfather said the family, especially Dennehy's
teenage sister, continues struggling to recover from the death.
About every six weeks, Brabazon drives five hours to Dennehy's grave in San Jose, Calif., even if he can only stay for 20 minutes before driving back home. He said Dennehy's mother goes about once a month.
Brabazon said whatever prison sentence is meted out in Dennehy's death won't be enough because prisoners have rights.
"When we go back to San Jose, Patrick isn't coming out to give us a hug or to talk to us on the phone through a glass window," he said. "... No punishment in the world will make up for what