I’m sorry this is so late. I’ve been traveling. I wanted to be sure you received this in time for the court hearing on Friday. I don’t have access to my pc so have to send via my blackberry.

I would like to convey to the judge, as he is deciding on the sentencing, what a great loss this has been for all of us.  Matthew was one of the finest young men I have met. He was caring and considerate. He was polite and giving. He was respectful and appreciative. He was focused and determined. He was driven and goal oriented. He had all the attributes of a leader.  He was special and qualities like Matt’s are hard to find these days.

I know he touched many lives in his short time here with us. This was evident by the number of people that attended his candlelight vigil in Chico (many from out of town). It was also evident when we had standing room only at his memorial service in Alamo (in a church with a seating capacity for 600).  Losing him as part of our family – the role model amongst his cousins – has been a tremendous loss for all of us.

I was so proud of Matt when we talked about his goals and ambitions to go into accounting. I loved accounting and felt a connection with him. And I loved when we’d talk about business. He was all grown up and reading to make his mark on the world. I remember how focused he was, working at Kinko’s and taking such a heaving load at DVC so that he could transfer into Chico.  I was looking forward to seeing him graduate and hoping this would serve to motivate my own boys.

Instead of a graduation we attended a candlelight vigil.  Instead of helping you plan a celebration party – we were planning a funeral.

His death has been so difficult for all of us. It was so senseless. It was so cruel. It was so careless. It was so selfish of those boys to worry about themselves and the trouble they might get into instead of the life threatening situation and subsequent death of a young man they “called” their friend. I hope the sentencing reflects the punishment warranted for this irresponsible act. I hope that others will learn that this isn’t a game, and lives, precious lives, can be lost.

I’m sorry I can’t be there with you, as my plane doesn’t leave NY until 4pm.

Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you!

Love you!

Angie Birdwell, Matt’s Aunt