Nothing is temporary about Mount Olivet Cemetery in St. Joseph.
Melanie Suzanne Sherman died 20 years ago. The bubbly brunette was magnetic. Even her signature, which included a heart, showed she was full of love.
"I wish I could've done something for her," her little brother, Brandon Sherman said. "Or been with her. Her dying alone like that, just haunts me."
Brandon Sherman cannot forget what happened because he was the one who found her in the family home on Angelique Street.
"It's a horrible thing to describe, but there was something in the air that I could smell," he said. "A distinct smell of blood."
On the morning of July 24, 1997, mom and dad had already left for work. The then 13-year-old Brandon Sherman heard an alarm clock in a different room.
"As soon as I seen her, I knew she was gone," he said.
He used the families home phone to call 911. The officer who arrived first helped calm him during the chaos.
"The first person I saw, I knew he was going to help me," he said. "I knew it was OK. As soon as he got there, I knew it was OK."
The young boy also knew that his sister was having trouble with her ex-boyfriend, prep football star Eric Weston. According to friends, Weston would not leave her alone after they broke up.
On July 22, 1997, Melanie Sherman sought an order of protection against Weston. Two days later, she was murdered. The gruesome crime stunned the entire community.
"It was a hard thing for people to understand, and wrap their mind around that," Brandon Sherman said.
The case was on the front page of the paper often. Hundreds showed up to court hearings and the funeral. The 19-year-old recent graduate from Central High School would never become a nurse, wife and mother.
"He took a lot from me, and a lot from my family," Brandon Sherman said. "He took my childhood away. He took my sister's life."
Weston was sentenced to life in prison, plus ten years. However, he will be eligible for parole in the future.
Right now, he sits behind bars in Cameron. The crime and response by police made such an impact on Sherman, he decided he wanted to be a cop.
Brandon Sherman is now a sergeant with the Gladstone Department of Public Safety. On Nov. 20, 2016, he almost lost his life in the line of duty.
Cpl. Eli Dorsey had stopped a speeding Porsche and asked for back up. Brandon Sherman arrived, and at some point, an armed suspect got out of the car and ran.
Brandon Sherman wrestled him to the ground.
"As soon as he flipped over, he had a huge handgun and he pointed it at my head," he said. "I was able to grab the gun and direct it away from my head. And it went off quicker than you could blink."
A bullet hit Brandon Sherman's thumb. Eventually, Dorsey fired, and the suspect died.
"The whole time that the assault was going on, I could see images of my kids and my wife in my head," he said.
Brandon Sherman has had multiple surgeries to save his thumb and has had to undergo intense physical therapy. The past year, he was named our area's officer of the year.
Brandon Sherman knows his big sister would be proud of him today.
"I wanted her to be proud of what I'm doing," he said. "I felt like this was my calling, and it is. It's something that I love doing."
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