SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A family is still seeking justice after their son was killed in 2021. Chandler Sweaney was shot during a confrontation with one of his tenants.
“Chandler was one of the most innocent victims you can think of,” Mother Shelley Larrick said. “If it can happen to him, certainly can happen to anyone.”
Larrick said the court process has been frustrating and tiring for her family and friends of Sweaney.
“There’s been multiple court dates and extensions and pushing,” Larrick said. “I think our family knows that we have the best system there is, but that system is painful. It’s excruciating at times. It’s the best system for criminals. It is not the best system for victims.”
On Monday, Sweaney’s family was hoping it would be one of their last days in court. But the final suspect in this case turned down a plea deal, and now they’re preparing for trial.
“You have to prepare for the worst and pray for the best,” Larrick said. “My prayer for the best is that he would stand up and plead guilty and take accountability.”
Two other suspects in the case, Rickey Rose and Timothy Johnson, both pleaded guilty in May and August.
Although Larrick is frustrated, she thinks about her son and what he would want to come out of this.
“Of course he wants justice, but his bigger message is who he was,” Larrick said. “It was in the notebook I brought today. The first page that says health, health, wealth, wealth, beauty, beauty, healing, healing. That’s what he wrote about. And, you know, what do you need to do to become a better person and help others? That’s who he was.”
Larrick said one of Chandler’s mottos was Do Better Be Better, something she’s continuing to abide by.
“We’ve already given four scholarships out in Chandler’s name,” Larrick said. “The last scholarship that we gave out was to an at-risk teen who went to the same school that Paul Morales went to many years ago because he was an at-risk teen. Our goal is catching these kids before they make those choices that lead to where Paul is at.”
A pre-trial conference is scheduled for Paul Morales on October 2.