Brandon Vasilauskas killed in North Carolina
written by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
Brandon Vasilauskas was a young man being remembered for his infectious grin and zest for life.
“Everyone always commented on his smile that radiated sunshine everywhere he went,” said his mom, Therese Waddell.
Vasilauskas grew up in Little Falls and graduated from high school in 2006, simultaneously earning an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College in Brainerd. He was an honor roll student at both schools.
In 2007, he moved to Asheville, N.C. with good friend, Matt Vasbinder.
“He enjoyed making everyone he came in contact with welcome and happy,” said Waddell. “He was passionate about everything he did and loved life to the fullest.”
Vasilauskas was engaged to Lauren Farmer and they were planning to move to Greensboro, N.C. when tragedy struck, Aug. 2, 2012. At a farewell party he and Farmer hosted the night before the anticipated move, he was killed by a friend.
“Brandon dozed off outside on the grass and woke up agitated,” Waddell said. “People tried to calm him down including his friend and coworker, Clay Jordan.”
The confusion escalated and Jordan drew a knife. Vasilauskas was stabbed or cut a total of six times. One cut was a defensive wound on his arm as he defended himself, with two wounds on his back.
“The fatal wound was three and a half inches deep,” said Waddell. “Clay said, ‘It was an accident.’”
“I held on to him until he died,” said his sister, Nicole Anders, who was at the party that night. “I put pressure on his heart.”
Jordan was charged with voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
“The judge asked him why he introduced a knife into the situation,” said Waddell. “At any time he could have just dropped the knife.”
Jordan was convicted Jan. 15, of voluntary manslaughter, the unlawful killing of a person in which the offender had no prior intent to kill and acted under the heat of passion.
The jury also found Jordan guilty of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Farmer sustained a severe cut to her hand when she tried to break up the fight.
Jordan was ordered to pay $15,325 in restitution to cover Vasilauskas’ funeral expenses and Farmer’s medical bills.
Vasilauskas’ fiancée and his sister both wanted his funeral and burial to be in North Carolina, since that’s where he lived.
“Since there was no ceremony here (in Little Falls), a lot of people didn’t know what happened,” Waddell said. “A lot of people knew him; we want them to know.”
Anders had followed Vasilauskas to North Carolina, where she met and married her husband, Ben.
“I miss him every day,” Anders said. “We were only a year apart and were very close. I gave him rides to work every day.”
Anders wants people to know how passionate her brother was about everything, caring 100 percent. He had a community garden plot next to his apartment building so all the children could come and eat strawberries whenever they wanted. He didn’t think the crib a friend had for his baby was very good so he bought a new one.
“Everything was super exciting for him; he always made everything fun,” she said. “He had such a bubbly personality and wanted people to be happy. I think he still influences people.”
“We’re put on this Earth to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. “He did that — he made people feel like they were the most important person.”