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There used to be a club called Mr. Lucky that was directly across the street from the sonics arena at the Seattle Center. On April 19, 2004, at 2 am when the club emptied out into the parking a large fight broke out involving two dozen people. Security more or less let them go at it.

Phuon Mensaveng was a 24 year old father no bigger than I. He was in the melee. A tall bodybuilder type took a four foot metal pipe and swung it as hard as he could at Phoun’s face, knocking him to the ground. As Phuon lay dying, people began to kick him. It was ugly. Hideous. Afterwards Mr. Lucky was forced to permanently close.

The prosecutors declined to charge the big guy – not even with manslaughter. Because he said it was self defense. And there were no cameras. When I took the killer’s deposition i stood next to him. Had him fake wield a pretend stick at me. He was huge and massive and had to pretend swing way down low.

Phuon had a little child whom he was raising in his family home. The extended family lived together in Redmond. It was the eldest sister Julie, who called me. She had been turned down by many attorneys. There were two photos that shaped my decision. They both involved the little boy. In one -the toddler was sitting on the bathroom counter as his father was trimming his hair. In the other the child was sitting on his mother’s black clothed lap looking at his father’s coffin as it was perched upon the cemetery grass. His sweet sad devastated little face facing forward. Resolutely.

I took the case. Filed it in 2005. Settled it in 2007. Most of the funds were placed by order of the court into an annuity. Some went into a trust account.

And time passed.

The child turns 18. Julie finally tells him that the payments he has been receiving all of this time – are not life insurance like he has assumed. He wants to see me.

They walk into my office. His face is like his father’s. He is carrying yellow daisies. And a card. I hug Julie. I hug Phuon’s grown up boy. All of our eyes well up.

What a beautiful young man. He is healthy. He is loved by his family. I tell him that his father would be so proud to know that even in death he was able to provide for his son.

Julie says to her nephew: All those other attorneys turned me down. Said there was no case. But then I found Karen. Half Chinese and little. But she fights so hard. She cares so much.

He says: thank you. I just wanted to meet you so I could tell you thank you for doing what you did for my dad and for me.

And the tears slide down my face.

Photo: The child who is now a man and his aunt.