At Asher Public Schools, where Murray went to school until last year, Superintendent Terry Grissom said the student body is handling the news well.
“I think there was some talking about it and addressing it in the classroom … and we encouraged the teachers to allow that,” Grissom said. “But otherwise, there hasn't been a whole lot of talk about it, so it's kind of been business as usual for the students.”
Grissom said students, teachers and administrators all know each other in small towns like Asher, so “I knew Jerrod well.”
“Jerrod was extremely intelligent,” he said. “And as far as discipline issues or violence issues or anything like that, we never had any problems with Jerrod.”
Grissom said Murray was “always quirky … a little different,” but that he was never picked on by other students at Asher schools. He noted that Murray, even in his younger days, was known for wearing a black suit all the time.
“That was never an issue or problem,” the administrator said. “We just thought he was eccentric, you know. Basically, that's just Jerrod.
“It was unusual … not very many kids come to school in a suit every day here in Asher.”
Attempts by The Oklahoman to reach Murray's family have not been successful, but his sister, Kristan Murray, posted some comments about her brother's arrest on Facebook.
Kristan Murray wrote Dec. 7 that her comments would be “the only thing I say about my brother.”
“I'm really at a loss for words about the entire situation,” she wrote. “I don't even know what to think right now, let alone what to say. I will say this though ... I never, EVER thought, in a million years, that one of my brothers could/would EVER do anything even remotely close to this.”
Mother wants death penalty
For Generro Sanchez's mother, Jeana West, dealing with her son's death is still a work in progress.
In fact, West said she has yet to watch a TV report or read a news story about Sanchez's killing.
“That's the best way I know how to deal with it,” she said. “It's just extremely hard. At this moment, it's the only thing I can do to get through it.”
West said her son, who grew up in McAlester before moving to Stuart in 2005, was studying to be an engineer at East Central University.
She said her son never complained about problems at school — or about anything — and that he “loved college.”
“The other day, he was telling me, he was walking down the hill at school, back to his dorm from the classroom buildings, when he just stopped and looked around,” West said. “And he was like, ‘Wow, this is beautiful … and I've got my whole life in front of me.'”
West said hundreds of people showed up to Sanchez's funeral in Stuart. She said the community helped her family make the arrangements.
“They have been a godsend,” West said. “It would have been a lot harder getting things done, for Generro's service, if not for the community and teachers here in Stuart.”
West said she will miss the simple, everyday moments she shared with her son. Even if they weren't in the same county.
“Our text messages back and forth, with him telling me that he loves me and me telling him I love him … I will miss that,” she said. “I used to text him a lot when he was in school because I never knew he was in class.”
When asked about the young man being held in the death of her son, West had little to say.
“I really can't put into words what I feel about Jerrod Murray right now,” she said. “I do believe in the death penalty and I do believe that he deserves it. I will say that.”
Pottawatomie County District Attorney Richard Smothermon said he hasn't decided whether to seek the death penalty in the case.
“That will come later,” he said.