MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The body of a Memphis Marine fatally stabbed in Hawaii returned home Friday morning.
The family of 23-year-old William Brown (aka Mike) was at Memphis International Airport to welcome their fallen hero back home.
"It happened two weeks ago and we're just now getting him home," cousin Mia Miller said.
Brown was stabbed to death on October 21 in Honolulu protecting a friend. A 16-year-old was charged with second-degree murder in his death.
"A group of people came up to them and started jumping them," Miller said. "He was protecting one of the girls in the group."
Loved ones held each other as Brown's body was removed from a plane on the tarmac, while passengers on the plane and in the terminal watched Marines respectfully place Brown in a waiting hearse.
"It's really hard to just have him leave the earth in this way," Miller said. "This is what Mike deserves, just to show how impactful he was to our family, he was just a joy to have."
Miller said Brown, who graduated from Bolton High School, will be remembered for his spirit, smiles, and laughter.
His fellow Marines said Brown was a beloved member of his unit.
A visitation will be held for Brown on Friday night at Old St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in West Memphis. His funeral will be Saturday at noon at Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ in Memphis.