Below are the words of Jennifer Mayo of Lexington from the parole hearing for the man found guilty in the crash that took her son Brandon’s life in 2013. Parole was denied.
My name is Jennifer. I’m the mother of Brandon Mayo. Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of my husband, Travis, and our daughters, Samantha and Mackenzie, and son-in-law, Ryan.
On February 3rd, 1998, God blessed our family with the birth of our son, Brandon Travis Mayo, and at last my husband’s dreams of having a son to carry on his name had come true and our family of five was complete. Brandon was the sweetest baby we could have ever asked for. Through the years, he displayed qualities any parent would have been proud of. He was a healthy, vibrant, intelligent young man who had love for everyone he came in contact with.
Brandon was an avid sports fan. He loved his Texas Longhorns, and he had dreams of attending the University of Texas in his quest of becoming a medical examiner. Brandon exceled at everything he did. He was a brilliant student who was always ranked at the top of his class in academics. Brandon was offered the chance to attend SC Governors School for Science and Mathematics, but he chose to apply for White Knoll’s medical program and was accepted. He was thrilled his dreams were coming true.
Now, as we reflect back on those days, life was good for our family of five, but on Dec. 6th, 2013 our lives as we knew them were shattered and gone. It is the darkest day a parent could ever have.
That day, Michael Gray chose to break the law by getting behind the wheel of his SUV under the influence of many different narcotics and sleeping pills, which clearly state not to operate a motor vehicle while taking. His SUV crossed the center line hitting Brandon head-on as he was on his way to school, ending my son’s young and promising life.
Gray showed no remorse that day at the scene as my son lay dead in his car nor did he show any remorse after that day. We were told at the scene the only remorse he showed was for himself, never once asking about my son.
It’s hard for me to even describe the pain and devastation this brought to our once happy family of five, but here is a glimpse of what we have been through since Brandon was taken away from us. I literally thought about killing myself daily for two years because the pain of waking up every day knowing my son was gone was just too much for me to take. The only reason I’m here in front of you today is first God and the love I have for my husband and my two daughters, and I would never want to cause them more pain than what they had already gone through. My husband and I had to both be put on depression medication just to make it through a normal day. My daughters cry and miss their brother so very much. Samantha got married, and Brandon wasn’t there. Mackenzie is graduating college, and Brandon won’t be there. This is our life now if you want to call it that, constantly missing him. We also had to seek counseling from our pastor to learn how to cope with our son being gone. Brandon never got to graduate high school or attend college, nor will he ever experience getting married or having children of his own. This was all taken away on that Friday, Dec. 6th.
The day after killing Brandon, Gray was granted bond, and on Sunday, as we were at our church picking out a spot for our son to be buried, we got the courtesy call from Lexington County Sheriff’s Department informing us that our son’s killer would be released within the hour. He was released two days after killing our son and two days before our son was buried. Gray was charged with felony DUI which they plead down to vehicular homicide. We spent two years fighting for a court date to bring Brandon’s killer to justice. It is sad it took us two years to get court, which is longer than the year and a half that he has spent in jail with the chance at parole today. Brandon’s killer was sentenced to eight years. Brandon got a death sentence, and we got a life sentence. The life we once knew for our family of five is gone. I don’t know if any of you have children, but, before you make your decision today, I ask if it was your child who was killed would you think a year and a half was long enough punishment for the person who took their life?