OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Brian Racine wasn’t just another homeless victim.
His family said Racine was their brother, son and a father of two girls.
“He just got the idea that he wanted to up and leave one day,” said his brother Matthew Short. “The next thing we know he’s dead because a couple of guys felt like he didn’t deserve to be on the planet anymore.”
Monday, one of the men responsible for Racine’s murder learned he will serve 16 years to life in prison.
In June, a jury found Dalton Aiken guilty of first-degree murder.
Last year, the Weber County attorney charged Aiken and Cory Fitzwater with Racine’s murder.
At the time of his arrest, Aiken told police the homeless “are a problem” for “not contributing to society.”
Both men blamed the other for pulling the trigger. Prosecutors were never able to determine who was the shooter.
Monday, Aiken apologized to Racine’s family and took responsibility for his role.
“I did not know that anything like that was going to happen, but I understand I made mistakes,” he said prior to being sentenced. “I lied to the police and I didn’t tell the truth when I should have.”
Judge Camille Neider told Aiken continued his web of lies from the outset and up until a jury found him guilty. She recalled Aiken saying he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“The only person that was at the wrong place at the wrong time was Brian (Racine),” Judge Camille said. “They were there minding their business and he is the victim, not you.”
Racine’s family who is from California was not present for Monday’s sentencing but several letters from them were read in court.
In a phone interview with ABC4 News, his brother said he was caught off guard to learn Racine was homeless.
Matthew Short said his mother believed he moved to Ogden to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latte-day Saints.
“The whole situation, it’s almost a year later and I am still kind of in disbelief,” said Short. “You know, hoping one day he might just call my cell phone.”
Short said it’s beyond words that someone would cast judgment on another human being simply because they don’t like the way they’re living.
“I was shocked,” Short said. “I couldn’t believe somebody would even think that and just to think that my brother was in a house a month earlier.”
He said Racine suffered from mental illness and was on medication but apparently did not get his prescriptions and left. He was unaware that he had moved to Ogden but stayed in touch with his mother.
Short said prior to his murder he failed to keep in touch with his mother and she became concerned. He said Ogden police were notified about his disappearance.
Then they learned he was murdered all because he was homeless.
“It’s still angering to this point you know,” Short said. “I want justice and it’s happening but it’s really hard to describe the feeling that we all feel.”
The second defendant, Cory Fitzwater, still awaits trial but will be back in court Wednesday for an evidentiary hearing.