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Mom of murdered Grayson County teen reacts to arrests

By Orlando Salinas, osalinas@wdbj7.com
Published On: Jan 13 2014 06:14:43 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 13 2014 08:18:56 PM EST

2002 Murder Victim's family opens up

INDEPENDENCE, Va. -

It was an emotional day for a mother who spoke to the media for the first time Monday since two men were arrested and charged with killing her 18-year-old son in Grayson County more than 11 years ago.

Surrounded by family and the Grayson County Sheriff, Sherry Billings spoke honestly of the rage she's lived with since her 18-year-old son Brandon was murdered in October 2002.

"I'm not a bad person. Don't take this the wrong way. But I really for years would meditate on how to kill this person,” Sherry Billings said. “He was my baby."

Two men, Chad Allen Reeves and George Albert Harper, both 40, have been charged with planning Brandon Billings’ 2002 murder.

The Galax high school senior was known as a gentle giant. A behemoth 330-pound offensive lineman. A hunter found Billings’ body near a teen hangout in Grayson County.

Investigators aren't saying much about how they connected the dots that eventually led them to Harper and Reeves. Harper's already in the Virginia prison system on an unrelated crime. Reeves is in federal prison in Kentucky.

Both men are from Galax and both have lengthy criminal records involving drugs, theft and assault.

Tracking down and charging two suspects took more than eleven years, a lifetime for the Billings family. Grayson County Sheriff Richard Vaughn said he promised the family he would try to find Brandon's killers.

"I remember talking to the Billings family in 2007. I couldn't make any promises and I told Sherry that. But I also told her would do our best and word hard on this case," Vaughn said.

Brandon Billings was murdered one day after his 18th birthday. His mom said time has stood still since then. She wants justice and revenge.

"I won't have full closure until [Harper and Reeves] are sentenced to the fullest,” Sherry Billings said Monday. “I'm hoping it's life. Life is without parole. Brandon got the death penalty and we got life. And I hope they get life."

Sheriff Vaughn said it's been a couple of years since they pegged Harper and Reeves as the prime suspects in Billings’ murder. No trial date has been set.