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“I Wanted to Yell Out, ‘I Know What Happened!’ ”
Comments () | Published November 1, 2008

Murray spoke last: “Your honor, I am terribly sorry for what I have done. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that what I did would hurt someone or intended to hurt anyone. I’m just sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry to everyone for everything.”

The judge sentenced Murray to a life term with all but 37½ years suspended. Anyone who lit a broom on fire and threw it onto a sofa would be able to foresee the consequences, he said, especially somebody as smart as Murray.

“Until 30 seconds ago,” the judge said, “I had never seen or heard any evidence whatsoever that this defendant had any remorse.”

He told the court that as he’d listened to Murray’s parents—who spoke of raising their son to understand the importance of church, family, friends, and making the right choices—he’d jotted down a note: From those to whom much is given, much is expected.

The Scroccas don’t talk about Daniel Murray. Mary has nothing to say to him. She says he didn’t look at her family during the sentencing.

“You would think he would have stood up and turned to us and just said, ‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it,’ ” says Mary, who wears a necklace with a silhouette of her son’s photo.

They’re satisfied with his sentence. It gave them some closure, they say, though there’s never closure to their son’s life. When Murray is up for parole—in about 17 years—they’ll be there.

Says Mary: “He’ll never know what he took from us.”

She still wonders how so many people stayed quiet for so long. She hopes to meet Adam someday and find out. “I’ll never understand his decision,” she says.

Detective Brown still thinks about the case. He hasn’t spoken to Murray since the day he arrested him. He saw Murray’s parents at the sentencing and tried to put himself in their shoes.

“I would imagine he professed his innocence to them until the end,” Brown says. “I don’t know that for sure—but I would try and believe in my child if they were in the same situation.”

Brown has three kids, and two are scouts as Murray was. Brown thinks: Am I doing everything I should be doing?

They’re taught about being trustworthy and loyal, he says—values Murray was supposed to live by, too.

“Why didn’t he step up and do what was right?” Brown says. “I wonder that of all these kids.”

People in this article who are identified only by first names have been given pseudonyms to protect privacy or because they were promised confidentiality in exchange for cooperation.

This article first appeared in the November 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles like it, click here.   

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 11/01/2008 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles