Every once in a while I am surprised in court. Today, happens to be one of those days.
Henry Rogers killed Dustin Davis last summer but he took a plea last week and was sentenced today to two years in prison for a misdemeanor.
Dustin’s parents forgive him.
Rogers, 28, punched Dustin, 35, in the chin and he fell, hitting his head on the pavement, which caused a blood vessel to rupture in his head and he died the next day. The state couldn’t charge Rogers with a more serious charge because it couldn’t prove intent. The only witnesses were friends of Rogers’ and the prosecutor said they recanted their stories and changed them more than once.
The defense called it a “tragic” or “freak” accident.
Dustin’s father, Donnie Davis, told me after the sentencing that justice in the court system doesn’t prevail but one day Rogers will have to “stand before God and it will be a different story. The truth will prevail.”
Virginia Davis, Dustin’s mother, said in a statement to the court she also forgave Rogers and hopes he will accept Christ one day. “You have to pay for what you did but God still loves you.”
Donnie and Virginia are plain spoken Georgia folks but I don’t hear many parents or family members speak as graciously to an offender as these two in their victim impact statements. Most ask for the most punishment, and the Davis’ did say two years, which is the maximum, isn’t enough punishment, but they seemed to want the chance to tell Rogers about their “beloved” son and how he will be missed.
Donnie was a good man with a great sense of humor, his parents said. He loved his family, especially his niece Sabrina, 5, who adored him. He was a like a father figure to her. Donnie was their only son and they take comfort knowing his kidneys and liver gave life to three others and that he will be in heaven.