“The apparel oft proclaims the man,” Polonius counsels his son, Laertes, in “Hamlet.” That line, often paraphrased as “The clothes make the man,” took on a new and pointed meaning in a Charlotte, N.C., courtroom last week when Matthew Deans showed up to answer charges of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle and failure to reduce speed, resulting in the deaths of a 2-year-old and his 3-day-old brother.
Not only was Deans not wearing a suit, tie, and white shirt. It’s what he was wearing that prompted the judge to inquire with more than a hint of irritation, “Why are you going to show up to court dressed like that based on these charges?” Deans was clad in a fishing shirt and shorts.
The judge was so incensed by Deans’s callous insensitivity that she ordered a continuation on the hearing so that she could compose herself.
The young victims of the accident, which occurred in May, were Dobbs Eddings and his little brother Reed, who wasn’t even born at the time of accident but delivered in an emergency induced birth after the wreck and died three days later.
As though the pain of their loss was not already intense enough, the boys’ parents, Gentry and Hadley, were celebrating their six-year wedding anniversary on the day of the crash. Both devout Christians (Gentry is a worship pastor at a local church), the couple say they forgive Deans. “I hate that this happened,” Hadley Eddings told WBTV. “I don’t like it at all. But I can trust God even when it’s really hard. I just trust it. I have to, I have to.”