Steve Grich admits he is a broken man, the head of a broken family.
A bullet to the head of his son Steven Grich, a student at Clemson University, fired on Dec. 8, 2012, tore the Grich family into shreds.
But this week, finally, the Grich family might be able to start healing.
In a Pickens County courtroom on Monday, the man who allegedly fired that bullet goes on trial for murder.
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“I pray that all these people who murdered my son get as many years as possible,” Steve Grich said. “And I thank all the people who have prayed for us. I hope they continue to pray for Steven.
“I was blessed to have him for 23 years. I was blessed to be his father.”
Lester Mosley Jr., 20, is charged with murder, burglary and armed robbery. Police say he and three others broke into the apartment near the Clemson campus shared by Steven Grich to rob Grich’s roommate of marijuana and money.
Mosley was out on bond on a charge of assault by mob when he was arrested for Steven Grich’s murder.
Steven Grich, an engineering student who was not accused of anything, not a target of anything, was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was beaten with a pistol and shot after the men wearing ski masks broke in through a back door and demanded drugs. They got just a small amount of marijuana.
Grich’s roommate, Robert McKinley, was not hurt. He was charged with drug possession and sentenced to 30 days in jail after being convicted in March in magistrate’s court in Central, court records show.
Steven Grich, not involved with drugs, just a roommate of someone with drugs, was shot and killed.
His death sparked outrage at Clemson, outrage from Steve Grich and his wife, Lynn. Steve Grich has been at every court hearing since – from first appearances to bond hearings to plea hearings – to make sure his son gets some measure of justice.
“True justice would be for my son to have his life back,” Grich said, “but that can’t happen.”
The three other defendants in the case – Bernard Ramsey and brothers Jaron and Jordan Dalton – pleaded guilty earlier this year to manslaughter and other charges and face at least 15 years in prison. As a condition of their plea deals, they must testify against Mosley.
Mosley, who faces up to life in prison if convicted, has pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent.
“The hardest part – one of the hardest parts, anyway – is the defendants seem to have more rights than my son did,” Grich said.
Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor Walt Wilkins, the former U.S. attorney for South Carolina, is trying the case himself. When Ramsey and the Daltons pleaded guilty in March, Wilkins told the judge that they pointed the finger at Mosley as the one who was pistol-whipping Steven Grich when the gun was fired.
Just six days after Steven Grich’s slaying, 6-year-old Jesse McCord Lewis was killed by one of hundreds of bullets fired in a Newton, Conn., elementary school by a shooter named Adam Lanza.
Steve Grich grew up with Jesse’s father, Neil Heslin.
Grich has heard so many times about how his son was killed by that bullet. He cannot even hear the word “Clemson” without shuddering in grief.
But on Monday, he and his wife and his younger son, Shawn, now in college himself, will head to the courthouse in rural Pickens County, about a half-hour from Clemson, where dreams come true for thousands of students – but not for Steven Grich.