Sister of murdered Waco man thanks his killer for pleading guilty

By Tommy Witherspoon
Waco Tribune-Herald staff writer
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tiffany Bell said she expected to see the face of evil as she stood Monday to address the man who killed her brother.

She also expected to stand there with a heart filled with anger and bitterness.

But when she saw Jay Vincent Hopwood’s youthful appearance, she noticed his tears as he looked directly into her eyes as she spoke. And knowing that her brother bore no grudge against Hopwood, Bell calmly thanked him for taking responsibility for her brother’s death.

Bell’s victim-impact statement, given moments after the 20-year-old Hopwood pleaded guilty to murder in the July shooting death of her brother, Trakemeyon “Trey” Richardson, appeared to touch Hopwood, his family and courtroom observers with its message of forgiveness and lament over more young lives lost to street violence.

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