WACO, Texas -- A piano and an organ played the comforting
strands of "It is Well With My Soul" as somber students and
faculty members gathered Thursday night to remember a slain Baylor
University basketball player.
A simple arrangement of flowers sat beneath a tall stained glass
window depicting Christ at the front of Powell Chapel, as grieving
friends and family joined those who never knew Patrick Dennehy in paying
tribute to the handsome, 6-foot-10 forward whose body was found
"We mourn the death, but even more we celebrate the life of
Patrick Dennehy," said Todd Lake, Baylor's dean of university
ministries, before Baylor President Robert Sloan led a prayer
asking for God's comfort and grace.
"Oh Lord, we do not grieve as those who have no hope, but we do
grieve," he said.
Reminding mourners of Dennehy's hope as a Christian, student
body president Jeff Leach read from the New Testament book of
In the passage Leach chose, the apostle Paul declares that
"neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to come ... shall be able to
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our
Thursday's memorial service marked the first event honoring
Dennehy on the 722-acre campus on the banks of the Brazos River,
where massive, spire-topped brick buildings tower above trees.
New Baylor coach Scott Drew and Dennehy's remaining teammates
all attended the service. Speaking on behalf of the team before the
memorial began, senior captain Matt Sayman said the players would
take the night off from thinking or talking about basketball and
dedicate it to remembering Dennehy.
"It's a real important night because we've kind of been holding
on to this for a while now," Sayman said. "It's kind of a chance
to let go and grieve together."
He said Dennehy's death helps put life in perspective: "How
short this life is and how quick it can go."
He remembered Dennehy as a good friend and teammate.
With most students away on summer vacation as details of
Dennehy's slaying rocked the Central Texas university, Baylor
lacked typical symbols of grief such as ribbons, flower bouquets
and candlelight vigils.
"Our students were gone when these tragic events unfolded this
summer," Lake said earlier. "They just arrived back on Monday,
and this is a chance to gather in the first few days to have a
service of worship and comfort those who are sad."
Dennehy's mother, Valorie Brabazon, sat on the front row of the
chapel along with Jessica De La Rosa, Dennehy's girlfriend of two
"I'm just holding strong right now with the Lord," Brabazon
Dennehy never got to play in Baylor's gold-domed arena.
After transferring to Baylor last summer from New Mexico,
Dennehy couldn't play for a year because of NCAA rules. He wasn't
as well-known as other team members among the 14,000 students but
had several close friends.
Carlton Dotson, who played basketball at Baylor last season and
lived with Dennehy a few months, was arrested July 21 in his home
state of Maryland. He was indicted for murder Wednesday and could
be extradited to Texas in the next 60 days.
Dennehy had been missing about six weeks when his body was found
July 25 in a field near a rock quarry southeast of town. He had
been shot twice in the head.
Dennehy's stepfather, Brian Brabazon, and the player's teenage
sister -- who live in Carson City, Nev. -- could not attend the
Baylor service because of work and school conflicts, Lake said.
Dick Bernal, pastor of Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose,
Calif. -- where Dennehy's funeral was held Aug. 7 -- also planned to
speak at the Baylor service.
Former athletic director Tom Stanton attended the service, but
had no comment.
Members of Baylor's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee served as
ushers, and the university's A Cappella Choir was to sing during