CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
A mother's only want was to see her son, one final time. The 57-year-old had terminal cancer and her son was facing jail time. Her family says she was afraid she wouldn't be able to see him again before she died. She spent her final moments Monday in federal court where her son was being sentenced.
Brenda Sutton's family says they were told by McDade's attorney, it would take $1,500 dollars to start the process of a furlough and even then nothing was guaranteed. It was money they didn't have.
"She was full of life silly just always liked to have fun...smile and laugh," said daughter Tosha Cook.
Brenda Sutton had known for just a few weeks that she would not survive cervical cancer. She was diagnosed at stage 3 last October. After 4-months of chemotherapy and surgery, doctors said there was nothing they could do. The mother of 4 and grandmother of 12 had just one dying wish.
"One of the Hospice case managers asked her if she could have one thing what would it be, and she just said, 'I wish I could see my son,' " said Cook.
That son, Trevor McDade, was locked up on federal drug charges back in July of 2014. Sutton didn't have long to say a final goodbye, her family desperately tried to arrange a meeting.
"We called jails, we called his parole officer, we called everybody and everybody was like you have to go through the court because it's federal," said Cook.
Cook wrote a letter to the judge begging him to give her brother a furlough visit. She shared her letter with Channel 3, a portion of it read:
"This has been a sudden shock for our family. I understand my brother has done wrong and had to be punished but I believe in grace and mercy. I'm asking could you please allow my brother to see my mother. My brother has a good heart and if you allow him to see our mother, I will assure you he won't be any kind of problem. He is not a violent person or a threat to anyone. You only get one mother. I am begging the court to have some sort of mercy.....Our fate likes in your hands. You have the ability to change lives. It would mean so much for my mother to get to see her son one last time and for him to get to see her as well. Even if it's for 30-minutes or 1-hour. We will take whatever we can get."
When Sutton didn't hear back, she asked her family to take her to her son's sentencing in federal court Monday morning.
"That was the only thing we could have done," said Cook. "We knew once he was sentenced, he would be shipped off and then there would be no chance."
It took 30- minutes to get downtown, up the stairs and to the third floor in a wheelchair. Family members said once Brenda was inside the court room, she started fading away.
"The lawyer took me out in the hall and he was like just talk to her, Trevor is up next, 'he is the next person,' " said Cook. "When she walked up to Trevor he said, 'Momma, Momma' and then she was gone."
Brenda died the moment she heard her son's voice.
"The U.S. Marshall told him you can hug your momma so he did. He gave her a kiss then a hug then they handcuffed him and did his sentencing," said Cook. "You only get one momma and that's something they should consider. Maybe they will consider it now, the measures people have to go through to get their family, to their mother and for her to die right there in the courtroom... It's a little harsh."
U.S. Marshals tell Channel 3 McDade was sentenced to serve 42-months. Family members said despite the circumstances, they are thankful that Sutton was at least in the presence of her son when she passed away. She will be laid to rest this Monday.