The ghastly murder of Stacy Fawcett and Josiah Utu, a 17-year-old Plano West football player, by their 19-year-old son and brother, McCann Utu Jr., was made even more disturbing Tuesday when family and friends cited a pair of concussions as contributing factors in Utu’s killing of his closest relatives. The first of those two concussions was sustained while competing for the Plano West basketball team.
As reported by the Dallas Morning News, McCann Utu suffered a devastating concussion in the fall of 2013 while playing for the Plano West basketball team. The injury temporarily sidelined the teen, but when he was able to return he again suffered from head trauma, this time resulting from a violent altercation with a fellow student. When combined, those two head traumas permanently changed Utu’s persona and attitude, according to those who knew the family well.
McCann Utu Sr., the father of both McCann and Josiah Utu, is a former University of Arizona football player who had divorced from Stacey Fawcett but remained close to his ex-wife and his sons.
“The McCann I knew, he would never do something like that,” Plano West graduate Waseem Limbada told the Morning News. “He loved Josiah, he loved his mom.
“Once (the head incidents) happened, he started isolating himself … [and his] behavior changed. … Josiah looked up to McCann,” he said. “They both played basketball together; they always played sports together. No question they were really close together.”
Utu’s uncle, Scott Fawcett, told TEGNA partner station WFAA he is confident McCann Utu’s brain will show evidence of CTE, much like the brains of former NFL athletes.
“He had just completely mentally dwindled away,” Scott Fawcett told the ABC affiliate. “His brain will absolutely show CTE, the same thing the NFL does.”
At the moment, investigators are still unraveling all the details behind the grisly killings and apparent suicide, which were committed with a knife in the Utu home in Plano. For now, Limbada and others are forced to reconcile the McCann Utu’s shocking final act with the person they believed he was.
“They were good kids,” Sebastian Tamayo, who claimed to know both brothers, told the Morning News. “They will both be missed a lot, and it is unfortunate it had to end like this and this is how they will be remembered.”