Cheerleader Scandal: The Ripple Effect

Cheerleader Scandal: The Ripple Effect

"This incident has destroyed my life, my husband, Dan's, life, my son's life," says Brandi's mom, Sherri.

Brandi's father, Danny, says, "It's hard to make it day by day. I feel like I am an emotional wreck."

What happened that night drove Brandi's family apart. At one point, Sherri and Danny even separated, though they eventually got back
together.

Every family member was impacted. "My son Josh went from an A student, a boy that used to love sports, to an F student. He has no regard for authority," says Danny.

"I became angry because I thought it was an accident and everybody was making it out to be like it was on purpose," says Josh.
His mother adds that Josh has taken to sleeping with a knife or pellet gun under his pillow because he doesn't feel safe.

"Brandi's situation has really caused some health issues," says Sherri, "I'm on disability for seizures and I'm now having heart problems. I have migraines."

Danny says, "My wife, Sherri, cries just about every night. Cries herself to sleep."

As for Daniel's family, his twin brother, David, says the tragedy sent them into turmoil. "We're distant from each other. It's torn our family apart."

"I look at David and I see Daniel," says Daniel's mother, Sheila. "He asked me one time, 'Mom, why do you cry every time you hug me?' I said, 'Because when I see you, I see Daniel, and I feel like I'm getting actually a chance to hug him.'"

Daniel's sister, Crystal, sees injustice in the outcome. "My brother was 18. She took his life. She has her whole life. She can have kids. She can get married. He can't. It's not fair," she says.

"When my brother died, I died," says David. "And I do a lot of things on my own now. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I still see my brother right next to me."

The thought of what Sheila will miss about her son brings her to tears. "I'll never have his grandbabies. And I'll never see him walk down the aisle," she sobs.

Daniel's father, Doug, holds back tears to share some words for his son: "Daniel, I love you. I will never stop loving you."

In an interview at the prison where she is an inmate, Dr. Phil asks Brandi how she feels about what this has done to her family.


She tells Dr. Phil, "It's hard to wake up every morning. I feel real guilty because of my mistakes. I live each day for my family. My family's what keeps me going, and just hearing everything that's going on with my mom and with my brother and knowing that they're suffering because of me really hurts."

"How about your brother?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Me and my brother have always been real close," she says. "I've always been the one he could talk to, and it seems like now that I'm gone is the time that he starts acting out."

"He says, 'Look what they did to my sister. Why should I trust them?' So he rebels against authority," says Dr. Phil. "How about your dad?"

"My dad seems to be hanging in there alright," she replies. "He's just trying to keep the family together."

"Do you cry? Do you get depressed? Do you get angry?" Dr. Phil asks.


Brandi says, "I cry myself to sleep every night because I feel real guilty about it. I have nightmares because of all of it. But when I talk to my family, I try to stay strong, because I know what they're going through and I try to keep a positive attitude for them."


"So what do you say to yourself at night that makes you cry?" asks Dr. Phil.

"How much I'm missing out on. And how me being here is putting my family through so much. And I just wish I could get home to help them out and be there for them," she says.

Back in his studio, Dr. Phil has a question for Sherri. "What hurts most about Brandi being gone?" he asks.

"Well, I guess the thing that's worse is obviously, I miss her. And the fact that she'll pay for this — no matter where she's at she's going to pay for the rest of her life," she says.

Sheila erupts. "But she killed my son. You're angry with us, but she killed my son," she says.


The discussion escalates into an argument, with each family shouting their version of the facts from the case at each other.

"You guys were escorted out of my daughter's high school for harassing her," Sherri says, addressing Daniel's family.

"I have never been in that high school," says Sheila.

Sherri responds, "I understand that you weren't ever in that high school. You were out of your son's life for five-and-a-half years. So you have no right."

"I was not out of his life. I beg your pardon. I have no right? That is my son. Shame on you! Shame on you!" Sheila scolds. "Your daughter

murdered my son! She knocked him 58 feet out of his shoes."


The bickering continues until Dr. Phil steps in and addresses Josh. "What do you experience about this when you see your sister in prison and people thinking that she's done something that you believe she hasn't done?" he asks.

"It gets me angry," he tells Dr. Phil, "that she's gone, and that they actually think that she would do that on purpose."


"Do you believe that your sister was capable of doing something like this on purpose?" he asks.


"No, not really," Josh says.

"Have you talked to her since?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Yeah, I talk to her, usually every day," says Josh.