The courage Dr. Abdul-Munim Sombat Jitmoud has shown through his heartbreaking grief is truly awe-inspiring.
His son, Salahuddin Jitmoud, was stabbed to death and robbed while delivering a pizza in Lexington, Kentucky.
But in a sign of pure forgiveness and incredible strength, Dr. Abdul hugged his son’s killer in court.
The act even brought the judge to tears.
Trey Relford, 24, was sentenced to 31 years in prison on Tuesday in connection to the April 19, 2015 murder of Salahuddin Jitmoud.
During the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Salahuddin’s father, Dr. Abdul, remembered his son as a gentle, generous, and shy young man.
He reminisced about his son who had an interest in rapping, writing and producing.
Dr. Abdul also tragically revealed his son had just ‘one more delivery’ to make the night he was murdered.
At the end of his emotional speech, Dr. Abdul shocked the court by turning to his son’s killer.
He looked Trey Relford in the eye and told him he did not blame him for Salahuddin’s death.
‘I’m angry at the devil who misguided you to do such a crime,’ he said.
Dr. Abdul added that it was important to forgive him because ‘forgiveness is the greatest gift of charity in Islam’.
The judge was so moved he was seen visibly wiping away tears. He then called for a recess.
When court resumed, Relford’s mother took the stand.
She described how her son had a great childhood but descended into drug abuse as a teen.
‘I take total, full responsibility for the loss of your beautiful son,’ Relford’s mother told Dr. Abdul. ‘I am deeply sorry for your loss. I am shocked at your forgiveness.’
Then, Relford himself apologized for what happened.
‘I’m sorry about what happened that day,’ Relford 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. There’s nothing I can do … I thank you for your forgiveness.’
Later Dr. Abdul went to shake Relford’s hand, and the two ended up locked in an embrace.
Two others were originally arrested along with Relford for the murder. However, a grand jury only decided to go forward with charges against Relford.
He maintains that he was not alone, but prosecutor Kathy Phillips said that all the signs point to Relford being the sole killer.
‘He set up the robbery, he provided the knife, he tampered with the evidence, and he is the one who ate the pizza afterwards,’ she said.
Dr. Abdul used to work as a principal at Islamic schools across the country, but he now lives in Thailand.
His wife, Salahuddin’s mother, died in 2013, two years before the murder.
Last month Relford plead guilty to complicity to murder, complicity to robbery and attempted tampering with evidence.