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Brothers Dele, Dabord Mourned

Three deaths in the South Pacific, one in California leave relatives and friends uncertain but critical of media portrayals.

October 13, 2002|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

At the memorial service Saturday for former NBA player Bison Dele and his brother, Miles Dabord, family and friends emphasized their bond, mourned their endings and sought "some sort of closure, even though there may never be anything closed."

The Rev. Eugene Marzette Sr., a cousin of the brothers, criticized some media portrayals of Dabord in his eulogy. Dabord, 35, is considered the primary suspect in the South Pacific deaths of Dele, 33, his girlfriend, Serena Karlan, and Bertrand Saldo, the French captain of Dele's boat.

"We cannot judge a person's entirety by the sum total of one event," Marzette told the estimated 200 people at the two-hour service at Trinity Baptist Church in West Los Angeles.

Dabord died Sept. 27 in a Chula Vista hospital after being removed from life support equipment. The brothers' mother, Patricia Phillips, said Dabord had attempted suicide nearly two weeks earlier by overdosing on insulin and not taking his asthma medication.

Between the July 7 disappearances of Dele, Karlan and Saldo and Dabord's Sept. 15 comatose arrival at the hospital, Dabord tried to buy $152,000 in gold coins, using Dele's identity. Dabord also told his former girlfriend that the three had died on the boat as the result of a fight started by Dele. French and FBI investigators have expressed doubt about Dabord's account.

Leondre Harris, a Fresno policeman and first cousin of Dele and Dabord, said he was angered by a media description of Dabord and Dele as a modern Cain and Abel -- the implication being that Dabord was a jealous brother who premeditated the murders.

"They were guys of many talents who loved each other dearly," Harris said during the service.

Afterward, Harris spoke of his frustration about not knowing exactly what had happened between his cousins, originally called Brian Williams (Dele) and Kevin Williams (Dabord).

"Being in the field I'm in, I've searched for a logical explanation," Harris said.

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