Sean Michael Busa
The other side of meth – a victim's story. Sean was born in Massachusetts in January of 1971. His “Irish Twin”, 10 month old sister, Kristan, welcomed him into the family. They were the best of buddies and co-conspirators at a very young age. What one wouldn't think of doing the other would. What took their dad and I hours to put together on Christmas Eve would be disassembled by Christmas morning. Curiosity and a desire to “fix things” kept mom and dad quite busy. A divorce and remarriage brought the family to Oregon in 1977. Sean was introduced to ice hockey at a very young age. Being from Massachusetts, his favorite team was the Boston Bruins. Though we moved to Oregon when he was 6, Sean's loyalty to his team never faded. Playing hockey himself gave Sean a respect for the grueling practices and at times heart breaking losses of their games. In 1982, with an eleven year age difference, Sister Kelly joined the family. Kelly idolized big brother Sean and big sister Kris. Unfortunately, a short time later life started to unravel for the family. The eventual divorce and adolescence became a struggle for Sean. His day to day routine was without structure. He hated school and I discovered he had been writing his own excuses for absent time, tardiness and early dismissal. At 17 ½ Sean was a troubled young man. He dropped out of high school, but found his legs once he joined the United States Navy. This was the same year I married his step-father, Ray, a sailor himself. Enlisting and being a part of the Navy was something Sean took great pride in up until the time of his death. Sean served during the Gulf War and worked security in the Panama West Pack. Sean returned home in 1992. His experience in the Navy allowed him to grow as a person. He was a joy - considerate, respectful and funny – so very funny! Sean's sense of humor is something people speak of often. He loved to laugh and he loved to make other people laugh – even at his own expense. The next step for Sean was finding a career. He became an apprentice plumber, following his proud step-dad's footsteps. Ray had been a part of Sean's life for over 20 years and he was happy to have Sean on board in the ‘trades'. Although welding pipes and turning wrenches wasn't Sean's ultimate goal in life he used the opportunity to his advantage. Along with his salary and veteran's benefits Sean was able to purchase a small house in Cornelius, Oregon, which is about a 20 minute ride from our family home. Sean was very proud of this accomplishment. In August of 1996 Sean married the love of his life –- a cute little spitfire named Tawnie, who he met on a work site. At 5'2” tall she wore a tool belt around her waist that could have made the average man sluggish. Although life was hectic for the young couple they were overjoyed they would soon be giving Tawnie's son, Matthew (age 3) a brother or sister. In September of 1997, Michael David Busa arrived. Life would never be the same in the little house in Cornelius. Mom and Dad were proud parents but struggled with the rigors of everyday life. Sean worked days while finishing his plumbing classes and Tawnie worked nights. Sean had joined the Naval Reserve. The family had little time together and it wore them down. After 2 ½ years the marriage dissolved. Since Sean purchased the house before the marriage he was able to maintain possession. Sean and Tawnie worked out a schedule to share custody of Michael. Sean picked Michael up at day care on Wednesday afternoons and they would be together until Sunday evening. The routine worked for them. Michael knew where he would be on each day of the week. It was a very structured environment – one that Michael understood and depended on. Wednesday night was the beginning of his time with dad. This went on for 3 years. THE ATTACK: Wednesday, April 9, 2003 Sean took a couple of days off from work. At this time he worked for a company that provided a truck for his job. A coworker called him and wanted to borrow it – so Sean said that this would be fine since he wasn't working and he would drive his own car instead. He spent the day golfing with a friend and then picked Michael up from daycare and went back to their house. They spoke to Kris, Sean's sister, about what they were up to that day and what they were going to have for dinner that night. This was the last conversation anyone from our family had with Sean. Sean and Michael went to bed. Later that night, dressed in all black, Andrew Gordon, a 17 ½ year old meth addict, entered their home through a back door. Though Sean slept soundly and Andrew Gordon could have walked out, he didn't. Instead, Gordon picked up a hockey stick and/or a golf club and went to my son, Sean's bedroom and attacked. An intense struggle ensued and went from room to room. At some point Michael awoke and started screaming. Gordon made his way to Michael's room to “shut him up”, as Gordon stated in his confession. The same weapons that had been used on Sean (hockey stick, golf club, scissors, an awl and a screwdriver) were used to attack Michael. Thinking they were both dead in Michael's bedroom, Gordon went about his task of stealing things to get money for his next high and left. Because Sean had taken time off from work, no one realized that anything was wrong. Sean and Michael were not found until 14 hours later the next afternoon at 2:30pm.The coworker, also a friend of Sean's, who had borrowed Sean's truck wanted to return it and after several unanswered phone calls decided to stop by the house. After ringing the door bell he heard Michael, in a very soft voice say “come in”. The front door was unlocked and as he opened the door, what was before him was a horrific scene. Blood was everywhere and the little boy on the couch was unrecognizable. Sean was dead on the dining room floor. The lead detective in the case is quoted as saying “Sean fought valiantly to save his son” and “this is one of the worst cases I've investigated in my 14 years as a homicide detective”. THE ACCOUNTABLILTY: On April 22nd, Andrew Gordon was arrested. His friends had come forward stating the day Sean was discovered, they were playing basketball with Andrew Gordon near Sean's home and as the helicopters flew overhead Andrew Gordon commented to his friends that he had helped create that scene. Gordon confessed to the crime and admitted several times that he used meth and was high at the time he killed Sean. He said “if it weren't for meth, none of this would have ever happened”. His intent was to rob the house, take and sell whatever he could for money to buy more drugs. Even after he killed Sean, he didn't leave the scene of the crime; he finished obtaining small items from the house. For Sean's life, Andrew Gordon was able to take about $50 worth of ‘stuff'. The family was spared the ordeal of a trial. Andrew Gordon entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to 55 years in prison with no chance of an appeal. He will be 73 at the end of his time served. THE AFTERMATH: Small for his age at 42” tall and 38 pounds, Michael's face was a mask of purple bruises. More than 40 staples closed the deep gashes that crisscrossed the crown and back of his head. His ear was slashed and gouges puffed his eyes shut. Michael's jaw and left ring finger were broken. Cuts ran down the sides of his neck and a hole punctured his chest. Michael lost half of his blood, falling in and out of consciousness while his Dad lay dead. Michael has healed from his physical injuries but the emotional scars run deep. He tends to withdraw at times and hides inside of himself. There is no way of predicting when, what or where something will trigger a flashback. Michael continues his visits with a counselor on a regular basis. For the most part Michael does well. He interacts with others and is a compassionate and caring child who is wise beyond his years. Michael misses doing things with his dad. Things such as: roller skating, coloring, playing with Lego's, going to the movies and going out to lunch or dinner. Michael still does all those things but it isn't the same. It will never be the same. After 3+ years, Wednesday nights are still particularly difficult for him. The pain we feel over losing Sean and knowing the horrific way he died is a pain beyond measure. We often hear addicts' stories – how they are affected by using meth or how their family and friends were affected by their drug use. However, we don't hear much about how the drug problem affects innocent people. My son, Sean, had nothing to do with methamphetamine, but yet he lost his life because of it. I would like to bring awareness to this side of the drug issue. I want to educate kids on what not to become and educate parents so that they won't become the mother or father of an addict who engages in criminal activity to get his or her next high. We never thought this could happen to us, but this drug does affect ordinary people. Sean fought to his death to protect his son from a madman high on meth.
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