Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Last week was the trial for the murder of my brother Mark. There are no words to describe what it's like to hear testimony about your brother's murder, to see photographs of him, to see the gun that killed him. It is beyond horrific to sit in the same room as the murderer. It's going to take time and a lot of prayer for me not to be a hateful person. I'm working on it. The murderer was found guilty of 2nd degree murder and handgun charges. One thing that I can do now is to write a victim impact statement--a letter to the judge who presided over the trial and who will sentence the killer. Here's what I wrote.

May 21, 2012

The Honorable Thomas G. Ross
County Administrative Judge
Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court

100 Courthouse Square
Centreville, MD 21617

Re: Sentencing of Charles Richter in the murder of Mark Xander

Dear Judge Ross:

Yesterday would have been Mark Xander’s 57th birthday. Mark Xander was my little brother. He was a boy whose hair turned white blonde in the summer while his skinny little body turned brown. He was a charming kid with a devilish grin and he wanted to be a trash man when he grew up. I called him “Little Honey” and, as his big sister, I wanted to protect him, to keep him safe.

Mark grew up to be a man, charm intact, with a big, generous heart. Everyone who knew him loved him. Like our own wonderful father, Mark cherished his family and worked hard to provide for his wife and his sons.

This big sister had no power to protect Mark from the hateful bully who lived next door to him. When Mark was senselessly murdered last year our family was beyond devastated. There is now a hole in our family that will never be filled.

A cruel, hateful bully willfully and selfishly took my brother’s life. Why? Was it because Mark’s dog walked onto his property? Was it because his hatred of Mark boiled and exploded to the level that he had to kill him? What kind of arrogance compels someone to shoot a neighbor in the back on a Sunday afternoon in his own front yard? Clearly this murderer is a very dangerous, very angry man who should be kept in prison for as long as is legally possible under law. I urge you to impose on him the maximum sentence possible for each of the counts on which he has been convicted.

Please let this killer, this wretched excuse for a human being, feel the impact of his action every day for the rest of his miserable life. Our family will feel the impact—the death of my little brother Mark— for the rest of our lives.

Yours truly . . . .


  1. AnonymousMay 22, 2012

    Such a beautiful letter Donna! ~ May God bless Mark and all of our family ~ I love you all ~ Carolyn Xander

  2. AnonymousMay 28, 2012

    That must have been a hard letter to write - you did a beautiful thing and it was a wonderful tribute to Mark. Mary