Eddie Baur became addicted to crack cocaine as a high school senior, turned on to the drug by a father figure.
Throughout his adult life, he battled addiction, and ultimately lost his life when he was shot to death in front of his 6-year-old son trying to make a drug deal in Highland Park on June 16, 2010.
On Thursday, as Tarel Lamarr Dixon, 22, was sentenced to a mandatory term of life in prison without parole for killing him, Baur's family urged the court to think of their loved one as they did.
"Understand that Eddie had an addiction, something he was seeking help for, but it in no way defined who he was," wrote his oldest sister, Stacey Barker.
Instead, in a letter to the court, she described her brother as kind and thoughtful.
As a teenager in Mercer County, he once drove past an Amish barn on fire.
"Eddie literally jumped out of the car and ran into this burning barn to clear out animals and people and then put the fire out," she wrote.
Over his 32 years, he saved a young boy from drowning in Lake Erie, saved two co-workers from a flood in Millvale and always stopped to assist people whose cars had broken down.
According to the prosecution, Baur went to Highland Park that night to buy from Dixon, who he knew as "Hayes," and often sold him methadone.
Baur stopped to get his son food at McDonald's and then parked at Mellon Street and Wellesley Avenue about 11 p.m.
He was shot outside of his vehicle three times. He managed to get back inside the car and speed away and then flag down officers before collapsing.
Dixon fled and was arrested about two months later by U.S. marshals in Johnstown. He was identified by the 6-year-old boy as the shooter.
A jury convicted him of first-degree murder, robbery and recklessly endangering another person in October.
Assistant District Attorney Robert Schupansky called a number of people to speak on Baur's behalf, and nearly all of them addressed Dixon's family.
Karla Baur, another sister, stood with her brother's two older children, Tristen and Casey, and criticized Dixon for killing the man in front of Eddie Jr.
"No one can erase what this little boy has to remember," she said.
Luke Trout, Baur's cousin, who considered him to be a brother, said the same.
"I don't pray for any pain in your life," he told Dixon. "I don't feel any joy in the fact you will have to serve the rest of your life in prison."
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos sharply rebuked Dixon for not addressing the court. "You haven't shed a tear even when the victim's family said they don't wish any pain for you and they feel bad for your family," she said. "You stood stoically with not even the grace to express any sympathy for their loss."
At the conclusion of the hearing, Dixon's attorney, Elizabeth DeLosa, told Judge Rangos that her client had wanted to speak, but she advised him against it.
"He acquiesced to that," she said.
The last witness called by the prosecution was Baur's fiance, Kimberly Biondo. "I never saw anybody who wanted to help people so much," she said. "But he couldn't figure out how to help himself."
Paula Reed Ward: email@example.com or 412-263-2620.