Sunday, January 4, 2009

Against better judgement....

I'm going to write a little vent about some insane drama that our town has been consumed in since Thanksgiving. While I'm appalled at the situation, appalled at what this person has done, I am equally appalled at the hits that his family is taking through the newspaper and online.

To give a quick rundown.... I'll use names as its not a secret around here. I know the "girl" everyone refers to... not well, but she's a very close friend of my sisters. I know the "murderer" in this story... he was my sister's friend as well and attended my niece's birthday party with us this June. The little I knew of this person, he seemed like a great guy, very nice.

There's my pre-word. Here's the nitty gritty... (I am not going to divulge anything to the public that has not been written in the paper... I have heard things through rumors and through my sister, but I don't feel that its my place to divulge that information... the police know the facts and I'll leave it up to them to write what needs to be released).

Todd Sanford, who owned the Rocket Nightclub in our town, used to be a police officer for the State of Michigan. He dated my sister's friend for over 4 years and they were raising a little girl together, who is 4. Todd has two older daughters who I believe are 10 and 13?

Todd and Kelley broke up, and Kelley was dating Steve Sampier, a MI corrections officer. From what I've heard/what I gather, there was picking and bullying between the two men over Kelley... I've heard that Steve wanted Todd out of her life, that Todd didn't want Kelley with Steve blah blah blah. Whatever the story so be it.

The situation escalated to dramatic proportions and Todd murdered Steve. Not something I ever ever thought I'd hear of happening in my town, let alone to people I know. Todd set Steve's house on fire. When the police had evidence to convict Todd, they went to arrest him and Todd shot himself.

That's the gist of the story... the basics.

I've been glued to articles on and have gotten consumed with reading comments... and I'm appalled. There is so much bashing and accusations and ridicule and hate going back and forth. I TOTALLY understand Steve's family's right to hate hate hate. I would to. I'd want more justice than they got. But seriously... Todd, no matter what awful crime he left behind, has family here that want to hold onto the guy they knew. The only pain these hateful words are causing is pain for family and friends who can't understand why he would committ cold blooded murder.

I read a comment in Voice of the People that Todd didn't deserve the obituary that was in teh paper, a beautiful obituary but obviously one that is like salt to the wounds of Steve's family (It, like all obituaries, touched on the great things Todd did in his life, and the GOOD parts of his life). There are comments saying that the obituary should never have been written, that Todd's family owes Steve's family an apology for printing it, that it was distasteful. Like I said before, what T did was horrible. Unthinkable. But at some point in his life he was a great man, and he obviously reached a point that he went over to a very bad side. His family/friends are living with the questions of why did he... how could he... this wasn't him... this wasn't the man we knew.

This commenter had a wonderful point:
We are all a heartbeat away from out-of-control anger, mental illness (temporary or permanent), a broken heart—all of those things that surround our happiest moments, our highest character.

When someone dies, that person nearly attains sainthood as we talk about them. The naughty/rascal/nasty/violent person is not understood and at least temporarily wiped from awareness.

The obituary WAS publicly strong in love and admiration. That must be painful to the family and friends of the murdered friend. Perhaps more sensitivity should have been suggested to the family. Maybe, we would understand the obituary if we were in the family whose son went from winner hero to weak zero in the flex of a trigger finger.

I've heard many stories about things that Steve did to badger/set of Todd (not that that gives him any right to do what he did). I have read comments by Steve's mother "saintifying" her son... he would NEVER do such a thing.... he would never send XXX to another man, he would never try to ___________. Now.... my point is this... Todds' family feels/says the same thing about him... only they have pure real evidence that he has done the unthinkable. They desrve to leave him an obituary that outlines the person THEY knew.... they didn't know this killer. That wasn't what his life was about.

Simple fact... all these hateful words, hateful articles and comments online are aimed at Todd for the awful thing he did. But they're not hurting Todd and they never will... he's gone. He took his life. He left behind a disaster area of hurt and pain and chaos and questions. The hateful words are only hurting his family and friends who are left behind with so many questions that they will never have answers for. They don't deserve to be picked apart for loving him... we all could be "that man"... we all are capable of breaking, of doing something terrible and unthinkable. The ones left behind don't deserve to be punished.

And then there are people who are judging him because of the type of music he listens to/promotes etc.... saying that he's a gangster, a thug. Ok, I'm guilty of judging as well, but I have seen this guy and he looked far from gangster/thug to me. And my husband listens to that kind of music and would you think he's gangster/thug? Not one bit. I loved what this guy said in his article:
Why would anyone suggest the Todd Sanford case has a thing to do with any kind of music? Sanford did what he did because of a love triangle. It could have happened to an insurance agent.

Sorry that this isn't making sense. I'm just mad and angry that there are so many written words that are only leaving hurtful feelings for the loved ones left behind. Its a tragic situation, and I hope that all involved are able to find some sort of peace, somehow.


  1. That's really sad! Sadness to both sides of the family.

  2. Hey I am an Insurance Agent, LOL! No really have made a ton of good points should publish that in the Voice of the People...

  3. You know... Sometimes through things like this you can see the true a persons true character whether it be pretty or not.

    I just don't understand how people can put shame on a family who also lost a loved one and had no control over what their son did. He was a Great person but messed up and noone will ever know why.

    Steve's family needs to grow up. Hateful words will never bring their son back and is that truly how they want others to see them. Be a Bigger Person and Grieve for your loss and think of the parents who are also grieving for the loss of their child too.


  4. Wow..that is really shocking and sad.

  5. What a crazy story, even crazier that you know them. I hope Todd's kids have the strength to get through this :(