From the front of a Boston courtroom, Marie Maude Duvivier stared at the man who killed her youngest son, and in doing so killed a part of her, too. Through tears, she remembered how Mariano would hug her close, give her a kiss, and tell her that she was “the most beautiful mother in the whole wide world.”
“Every day, every minute, I miss him so much,” she said.
Her son, Mariano Malave, was 25 when he was fatally shot in April 2012 during a drug deal in Jamaica Plain. His killer, Charles Reddicks, 21, was sentenced to life in prison Friday, a day after a Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted him of second-degree murder. He will be eligible for parole after 15 years.
In a series of impact statements, relatives of Malave said he was trying to turn his life around when he was killed, and that their grief over his death will never leave them.
“Why did you take his life?” Duvivier asked Reddicks, who was sitting just a few feet away. “He was just 25 years old. I miss my son.”
As her family wiped away tears in the audience, Duvivier said she was a “Christian lady” and didn’t hate Reddicks, even after what he did.
“I’m praying for you day and night, praying for God to change you,” she said.
Malave had been dealing drugs but had told family members he was about to give it up. He had gotten a job at Home Depot, had enrolled in school, and seemed to be headed in the right direction, his relatives said.
“He had a purpose,” said his cousin, Vladimir Manigat. “He said the drug-dealing was just paying the bills, and he wasn’t going to do it much longer. But he never got the chance.”
On the day he died, Malave had visited his probation officer, who had urged Malave to straighten out his life, to thank her for standing by him, the Globe reported in 2012.
After Reddicks and Malave had negotiated the sale of a pound of marijuana, Reddicks shot him several times, prosecutors say. Reddicks, who was out on bail on assault charges, was arrested three weeks later.
With a wistful smile, Manigat recalled Malave’s big grin and giving nature. It was terrible, he said, that drug disputes could cause so much damage.
“It’s a senseless way to have someone taken away from you,” he said. “It’s got to stop.”
Conrad Meneide, Malave’s brother, said he was proud of the progress Malave was making. He had been meaning to call and tell him that, he said, but hadn’t found the time.
“It’s unfortunate Mr. Reddicks didn’t give him that chance,” he said.
Before imposing the sentence, Superior Court Judge Linda Giles said the family’s impact statements were the most poignant she had ever heard, capturing their profound loss without a trace of vengeance. She assured the family that while Reddicks would be eligible for parole after 15 years, he would probably not have an opportunity to be released for “many years after that.”
In 2013, Reddicks pleaded guilty to assault charges and received a sentence of three years in prison, which he served awaiting trial.
Reddicks did not speak at the hearing.
Manigat said he would pray for Reddicks’s family, who was suffering, too. Manigat said he and his family were grateful for the time they had with Malave, and their memories. But it was hard to accept that they would never get to see him have children or grow old.
“I’m grateful for the 25 years we had,” he said. “But we won’t get 25 more.”Peter Schworm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.