Friends and family of Andrew Gelston Graham gathered in a quiet Centennial subdivision to remember the 23-year-old graduate student who was shot to death three years ago as he walked home from a nearby light rail station.
The Dec. 1 candlelight vigil, led by Graham’s mother, Cynthia, recalled the brief life of a young man who would chat with the homeless, play music too loud and went by the nickname “Stitches,” a moniker he got after a head-on collision with a Frisbee teammate sent him to the emergency room to mend a gaping cut over his left eye.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, whose department has been investigating the case, offered personal remarks at the vigil, calling Andrew a “man of purpose, principle and promise.”
“The purpose of us coming together this evening is to recognize his memory and not lose track of the man he was,” said Robinson.
Reading aloud from several personal letters, Cynthia confessed she knew little of Andrew’s random acts of kindness, but was not surprised.
She also expressed gratitude for the friendship and support of her son’s teammates, with whom she’s organized several Frisbee tournaments in his honor.
“They stay in touch, and that keeps bringing Andrew back to me,” she said.
Although the case remains unsolved, Robinson said it’s far from closed.
“This is still a very active case,” he said.
Andrew’s body was discovered Nov 6, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. on a lawn in the 8700 block of East Phillips Place, a subdivision near County Line Road and Yosemite Street, less than a mile from his parents’ home.
A coroner’s report identified the cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the torso.
There is speculation the crime may have been racially motivated and gang-related.
After 18 months, testimony from 63 witnesses and more than 100 exhibits, an 18th Judicial District grand jury gave up on the case this summer, saying there was simply not enough evidence to move the case to trial.
However, that might change, according to Robinson.
“When the time is right, we will present this case again for prosecution after the new district attorney is seated,” he said, “Justice will be served.”