By Kim Minugh
Saturday, Apr. 07, 2012
firstname.lastname@example.org - Greg Cole looks at photos of his son Michael and some of the honors and medals he earned during his years in the Marine Corps.
On May 23, 2006, Michael Allen Cole was driving a Humvee through war-torn Iraq when the rig hit a roadside bomb and vaporized into a smoky cloud of flying debris.
The explosion killed three Marines. Cole's physical trauma would require a year for recovery; his psychological and emotional wounds would be slower to mend. But it was not war that would ultimately claim his life.
In quiet suburbia Cole's life story would end – in a robbery at his Citrus Heights home, allegedly at the hands of a friend, about a mile from where his father and stepmother were getting ready for work.
That Feb. 10 morning, a neighbor found Cole lying on the floor, stabbed in the back. He was 26. "It was very difficult on our entire family when Michael was injured," said his father, Greg Cole, 52. "His murderer stabbed us all in the back and left us with gaping wounds that may never heal.
"His death defines tragedy. After all he had gone through, he deserved a chance."
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