Murder victim fondly remembered

February 2, 2013

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Gene Sabin’s youngest son, Air Force Master Sergeant Randy Sabin, made sure everyone in the courtroom heard the middle name they shared when he was asked to state it on the witness stand Thursday in the capital murder trial of Justin Ragan.

“Randy GENE Sabin,” he stated, with obvious pride – and plenty of emphasis on “Gene.”

He testified that his dad had been drafted into the Army in 1968. He served in Korea, and later served as a tank commander in the Texas Army National Guard.

When the jury was shown a photograph of Randy and older brother Brian with their father, taken in mid-December 2011, Randy commented, “That was the last time I saw my father.”

Randy Sabin said there was “no good outcome” possible for the trial because his dad’s life had already been taken.

“I have a lot of mixed reactions,” said Randy Sabin, who is based at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb. and serves as a meteorologist. “I know Justin Ragan’s family is going through a lot as well. I can’t believe it’s been a year already. I miss my dad. Seeing pictures (during the trial) brought back a lot of memories.”

He said his father was drafted in 1968 and put in 33 years of military service – first in the Army, and later in the Texas Army National Guard. Randy said he will have 20 years of service next month, and wants to remain in the Air Force. He was motivated to join because of his father’s service, he said.

“It was always there,” said Randy, who was joined by his brother Brian Sabin, along with about a dozen other relatives who witnessed the trial. “He was buried in his uniform. Service meant a lot to him, and it means a lot to me.”

‘BIG-HEARTED’ MAN

Leanne Green, who worked for Sabin at T.J.’s for five years, said the thing that comes to mind first around him was that he was so “big-hearted.”

“There wasn’t anything we wouldn’t do for somebody,” Green said.

In fact, he might have even helped out someone like Ragan – if he had asked.

“He died for something he would have given away,” Green said. “I can’t remember one time he ever turned anybody down for help.”

She said Sabin could be stern and strict with his employees, but also fair. It was all part of his most dominant personality trait – being a “creature of habit,” Green said, noting that she could only remember having a real argument once during her five years working for Sabin.

“He was very wise in his advice to me,” Green added. “He was wonderful to my family. He was stern to some (of his employees). Some of them couldn’t handle it.”

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