Emotional moment when father hugged son’s killer in court shows the power of forgiveness
A Muslim father showed the greatest form of forgiveness after he decided to address and hug his son’s killer in court, bringing the entire room to tears with his kindness.
Trey Relford was sentenced to 31 years in jail in an emotional sentencing hearing over the 2015 murder of a delivery pizza driver named Salahuddin Jitmoud. In the trial, both Jitmoud’s father and Relford’s mother took the stand to address the court, and even the judge in charge ended up crying.
Dr. Sombat Jitmoud, Salahuddin’s father, surprised everyone in the room when he decided to forgive Relford, stating that he did so to honor the spirit of Islam. “Islam teaches that God will not be able to forgive someone until the person who was wronged forgives that person,” Jitmoud told CNN affiliate WKYT.
"The door of opportunity for God to forgive him is open. So, reach out to Him. You have a new chapter of good life coming," he told a tearful Relford in court.
THE MURDER AND ARREST
On April 19, 2015, Salahuddin was delivering a pizza at the Walnut Hill Apartment complex on Trent Circle Road when he was robbed and stabbed to death. His body was found lying on the breezeway of the complex.
Three men were arrested for the crime, but a grand jury decided to keep the charges only for Relford. The young man admitted he had planned the robbery but denied killing Jitmoud.
A month before the final hearing, he pleaded guilty for complicity to murder, complicity to robbery and attempted tampering with evidence.
Jitmoud’s father told Relford that he forgave him in the name of his son and his mother, who had died two years before."I'm angry at the devil, who's misguiding you and misleading you to do such a horrible crime," Jitmoud told Relford.
“I don't blame you. I'm not angry at you. I forgive you."
The man’s speech brought tears to every person in the room, including the judge, who had to call for a break. When the hearing was resumed, Relford’s mother took the stand to thank Jitmoud’s for his compassion, as she repeated how deeply sorry she was for his loss.
“I take total, full responsibility for the loss of your beautiful son,” the woman told Dr. Jitmoud. “I am deeply sorry for your loss. I am shocked at your forgiveness.”
Eventually, Relford himself addressed the room, apologizing for his actions and thanking Dr. Jitmoud for his forgiveness:
“There's not much I can really say. I'm sorry about what happened that day. I can't do nothing to give that back to you.”
He then approached Dr. Jitmoud to shake his hand, but the two men ended up meeting in a warm embrace as sobs filled the room. Other members of the two families joined in the hug, creating an even more emotional scene.
CNN reported that after the sentencing, Jitmoud revealed he whispered into Relford's ear to "do good deeds" when he gets out of jail and that he has "confidence that Allah is forgiving."
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