Funeral for Greg Halman draws 2,000, including former Mariners teammates
In the weeks before Greg Halman was stabbed, his brother Jason was hearing voices, according to a lawyer and family friend. A doctor visited the brothers' apartment in Rotterdam the day before the stabbing, giving Jason a referral to visit a specialist the next day.
Seattle Times staff reporter
As Mariners outfielder Greg Halman was laid to rest Tuesday, the scope of the dual loss faced by his family came into focus.
An estimated 2,000 people packed a chapel and spilled over outside for the service in the town of Driehuis in the Netherlands, just outside Halman's hometown of Haarlem. Among those speaking at the service was Halman's mother, Hanny Suidgeest, who talked not only of her late son, but the struggles of her younger son, Jason.
Police arrested Jason Halman, 22, at the apartment where his brother was stabbed to death a week ago Monday. They've asked that he be held under psychiatric observation two more weeks, but now, his lawyer says that part will last several months.
"It's all about the state of mind of Jason and what it was," lawyer Frits Huizinga said in a telephone interview with The Times shortly after attending the funeral.
Huizinga has been a Halman family friend since before the brothers were born and served until last year as vice president of the Kinheim team in Haarlem where both played. He described a loving relationship between the pair, the depth of which might have resulted in death.
In the two weeks before the stabbing, he said, Jason Halman began randomly talking aloud without seeming to notice others. This alarmed his family, but especially his brother, Greg, who returned to their shared Rotterdam apartment on Nov. 13 after participating in a European tour with other major-leaguers.
In the week that followed, Huizinga added, Greg Halman watched his brother deteriorate and complain of "voices" in his head. A concerned Halman phoned his mother, who traveled to Rotterdam that fatal weekend.
They contacted a doctor, who visited the apartment the day before the stabbing, but left after giving a referral for Jason Halman to visit a specialist the following day.
"That was a big, big mistake," Huizinga said. "He was really confused."
Greg Halman's mother returned to Haarlem that night to be at work Monday, but figured Jason worshipped his older brother enough to do whatever he said.
"If anyone could handle Jason," the lawyer said, "it was Gregory."
But Halman's younger brother left the apartment that night and returned early Monday morning. He'd forgotten his key, so he woke Halman to let him in.
Halman then went back upstairs to his bedroom, where he was staying with his girlfriend, Tanjita Larmony. His brother then began blaring music loudly. Sources close to the family have said this was how Jason drowned out the voices in his head.
Huizinga did not confirm that latter part, but agreed music was played loudly and that Halman went back downstairs. Shortly after, he was killed by a knife wound to his throat that slashed the carotid artery.
Huizinga said Jason Halman will be held under psychiatric evaluation two more months and might remain that way rather than face prison time. Huizinga said Jason has been told of his brother's death, but recently asked when he'd be able to visit him.
At Tuesday's funeral, family and friends were supportive of Jason Halman and viewing his brother's death as a horrible outcome to a sad situation.
"It's all so terrible," said family friend Peter Van Dalen, the Dutch-based Mariners scout who first recommended Halman to Seattle as a 16-year-old. "It makes no sense. Jason loved his brother more than anything."
Besides Van Dalen, the Mariners were represented by vice president of international scouting Bob Engle and Wayne Norton, the scout who signed Halman. Mariners teammates Dan Cortes, Mike Carp, Alex Liddi, Adam Moore and Matt Mangini were also there.
The players stood on a stage as Cortes told mourners of first meeting Halman two years ago and how Halman made fun of a tattoo of his in Spanish to a teammate — not realizing Cortes was of Hispanic descent. Cortes and Halman became close friends and roommates.
"It was really special," Van Dalen said. "We had to walk up a bit of a hill to get to the service and when you looked back down again, you could see all the people lined up ready to come and listen as well. It showed you just how important he was to so many people."
Huizinga agreed, saying Halman's legacy in the Netherlands is only fully being realized after his death.
"You can't imagine the loss here," he said. "Nobody, until now, realized what a big guy he was. Baseball is a small sport in Holland and in a way, he brought the entire Dutch baseball community together. He will be greatly missed."
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @gbakermariners
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