Kinney Family to Celebrate His Life on Anniversary of Murder - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/29/05

Kinney Family to Celebrate His Life on Anniversary of Murder

Marlene looks at pictures of Brett. Marlene looks at pictures of Brett.

Nearly a year ago, a physically handicapped man from Beaufort disappeared, but that missing person's case quickly turned into a murder investigation. We talked with Brett Kinney's family and they've got something special planned to remember him by.

The family has invited anyone who knew Brett to share their memories with them at a special get-together this weekend as a way to honor his life.

It's been a rough year for Marlene Kinney and her family. They're about to mark the one-year anniversary of her brother's death.

Brett Kinney spent the majority of his 34 years of life overcoming physical handicaps and brain damage all caused by a childhood accident. "Brett had an unbreakable spirit, he was quite an amazing person," said Marlene.

But it wasn't his disabilities that killed him. Police say it was Samantha Morgan-Major and John Dykeman who took his life.

They say the two severely beat Kinney, stabbed him, tortured him and then left his body in a wooded area in Burton. All in attempt to get his bank card PIN.

But that's not how the Kinneys want to remember Brett. In fact, this weekend they're gathering with friends and family to celebrate his life and what they say is Brett's first year in heaven, a place he always looked forward to.

"We're trying to make something good out of something evil," said Marlene.

And since Brett was so involved in the community, from volunteering at the hospital to substitute teaching to singing in the church choir, they expect quite a crowd.

"We want funny stories and happy memories," said Marlene.

And family members say they'll need that kind of support with a emotional trial hanging over their heads. "I think it's in the hands of the jurors and in the hands of God," Marlene said.

The celebration of Brett Kinney's life will take place tomorrow, April 30, at Broad River Elementary School, beginning at 5pm.

A court date has not yet been set for those accused of murdering Brett.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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