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Man doubts he can ever forgive himself for younger brother's death

forgiveness on Stories - SALT LAKE CITY — On that night, before it became the dreadful night that haunts Eric Charlton's dreams and most of his waking minutes, he was trying to dissuade his younger brother from becoming an infantryman in the Marine Corps.

"I just really wanted him to be safe," Charlton said. "That was the whole thing. I cared for the kid so much, I just wanted him to be safe."

Eric Charlton could never have imagined that his baby brother Cameron — who idolized him and wanted to be a Marine because his big brother was — would die that night and that it would be his fault. After all, he wanted nothing more than to protect his brother.

"Everyone says that you will forgive yourself in time. I don't think that I ever will," an emotional Charlton said. "It's one of those deep cuts, a scar, you know, that I'll never lose. I'll always have that going forward for the rest of my life."

But first there is a 90-day sentence in the Juab County Jail, years of probation, and then an effort to rebuild a future that changed on May 28, 2012.

He and Cameron, 17, owned a boat and had taken it on a camping trip to Yuba Lake for Memorial Day weekend. That night the brothers and one of Cameron's childhood friends sat around the campfire. Both the teenagers were interested in the Marines, but Charlton said he was telling them to avoid the infantry and go into something that would teach them a skill, like mechanics.

Earlier in the evening, the group had been "spooked out" by talk of ghosts and poltergeists and Charlton had retrieved a Springfield 1911 from his truck. Later, when the talk turned to the military, Eric Charlton took the weapon out to demonstrate some shooting techniques.

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