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Father forgave and hugged the man involved in the killing of his son in US court

Abdul-Munim Sombat, Jitmoud's son was killed while delivering a Pizza Hut order. When faced with one of the culprits, he did something many can't fathom doing.

Father forgave and hugged the man involved in the killing of his son in US court
Cover Image Source: YouTube | KPRC 2 Click2Houston

In a Kentucky courtroom in 2017, Trey Alexander Relford stood up feebly, wiped his teardrops off the collar of his orange prison uniform and addressed Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud, uttering the note, “Thank you for your forgiveness.” Jitmoud and Relford hugged each other. This moment was a gesture of forgiveness displayed by Jitmoud towards Relford, the man who helped in his son's killing over two years back, as reported by The Washington Post.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | katrin bolovtsova
Representative Image Source: Pexels | katrin bolovtsova

The story began in April 2015. During this time, 22-year-old Salahuddin Jitmoud was working as a pizza delivery man for Pizza Hut at a Lexington apartment complex when he was robbed and fatally stabbed. Authorities said that Relford, along with two other men, called pizza delivery restaurants and stalked different drivers before targeting Jitmoud.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | mike jones
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Mike Jones

Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Jitmoud belonged to a Muslim family, his murder might have been a hate crime and the rumors triggered enormous rage among Lexington’s large Muslim community. However, police ruled out the motive due to lack of evidence. Two years later, when the moment arrived for the judge to sentence Relford, Jitmoud extended a gesture that astonished everyone present in the courtroom. “Forgiveness is the greatest gift of charity in Islam,” Jitmoud said, standing at the witness counter.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | emir bozkurt
Representative Image Source: Pexels | emir bozkurt

Touched by the father’s gesture, Fayette County Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell took a break in the hearing. After the court resumed, Relford apologized to Jitmoud for his son’s death. They then embraced each other in a hug. Teary-eyed, other members of both families also joined them. 



According to the Virginian Pilot, Jitmoud told Reford not to worry and to welcome a new chapter in his life. “A new beginning. You have to go and do righteous deeds, and you can start in the confinement. When you come out in the real world in 31 years, you’ll prepare yourself to be a productive person.” Jitmoud said that Relford was completely shocked by his forgiveness and his family surely hadn’t appeared in the court expecting this.

Relford was sentenced to serve more than 30 years in prison. Though he continued to deny killing Jitmoud’s son, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Kathy Phillips told the Lexington Herald-Leader that Jitmoud’s forgiveness doesn’t change the reality of what happened. “He set up the robbery, he provided the knife, he tampered with evidence, and he is the one who ate the pizza afterward,” she said.



After Jirmoud had spoken, Relford’s mother, Gail Coote Bird, was called to the witness stand. She said that the Jitmoud family had agreed to a plea deal in order to save her son from a possible death penalty. Relford was too dumbfounded to say anything. Besides the note of gratefulness, he said, “I do applaud you because it takes a powerful man to know that someone has hurt them and to get up there and say what you just said. I can’t imagine the hurt, the pain.”


Jitmoud’s heartfelt act was also highlighted in one of the episodes of Morgan Freeman's show "Story of God," season 3. In a Facebook post, Freeman lauded the father's selfless gesture and wrote: "There are no words for me to express how humbled I was meeting Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud. When faced with the man who murdered his son, he did something most of us can't fathom doing. Hearing how he found his strength left me inspired and I hope it does the same to you."


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