Waiting for Tragedy : Ashland father talks about the murder of his son
MEDFORD, Ore. —
A year ago a local family's life changed forever.
"We had the last, best day ever," Michael Feldman remembers about the last time he saw his son, Avi Feldman alive. It was last Halloween. Michael says he and his 20-year son hung out all day. They went to the parade, got some food, went for a walk and went out later that night to play pool. It was exactly 6 days later Michael received news that would change his life.
"I put my phone in the other room to charge and at about 2:30 in the morning, I heard it ringing. I was asleep so I let it go. I woke up around 4:30 in the morning and something compelled me to go check my phone and I had a missed call from his best friend. I called back and he said, Avi has passed, you need to call police."
Michael immediately called the police station, but there was no answer. He dialed 911 and explained what happened. Moments later, an Ashland police officer was in front of his house and Michael says that's when he knew it was real. He then called his mother, who lived up the block and Avi's mother to tell them both Avi was murdered. He says those moments on that day will haunt him forever.
Avi had been at a party in Ashland on Strawberry Lane when he was stabbed by 22 year old Pedro Sabalsa-Mendez.
"Avi brought him to the party because the kid was hungry and they were hanging out. My son was the kind of guy that would take homeless people over to his place and feed them and give away his bus pass and his last cigarette or his last 50 cents."
Sabalsa-Mendez was found guilty of murder except for insanity earlier this year. He'll spend the rest of his life in custody of the Psychiatric Security Review Board.
"I hope he never gets out," Feldman says about the sentence, "Schizophrenia is something that stays with you and you never know if he could snap again."
Michael says on his good days, he's in denial and tries not to think about Avi. The bad days are full of flashbacks, tears, anger and sadness.
"Sometimes my phone would ring and it would be Avi and I would think, uh oh, what does he need now. What I wouldn't do to get a troublesome call again. I miss his hugs, I miss his smell, his smile, his energy, his rap, his dancing. The last words he said was I love you guys. That was the last thing he said."