Tamika Stewart desperately wanted to hate the man to took her brother’s life; she wanted to lash out over the pain of losing her loved one due to the senseless actions of another — but, instead, she chose forgiveness.
“I forgive you,” Stewart told Erik Brandon Randolph, the 38-year-old man who killed her brother Steven Curtis Stewart after Randolph, who was high on heroin, passed out while driving on Aug. 7, 2016, and hit Steven Curtis Stewart with his vehicle.
At the time, Stewart, 32, was waiting at a bus station on his way to serve as an usher at United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in North Carolina, though he never made it to the house of worship that day, The News & Record reported.
Stewart died nine days after the accident, leaving a void in his family that caused immense pain. But rather than harbor hatred over the tragic death, Tamika Stewart delivered a starkly different message in court.
“I forgive him because my brother would forgive him. I forgive him because my brother wouldn’t hate him. … I pray that you find forgiveness within yourself,” she recently told Randolph. “I pray that the Lord will help you throughout your problems. I pray that this be a lesson for everyone sitting in this courtroom. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it.”
Randolph, who was sentenced to a minimum of 19 years and four months, has been working on his drug recovery since the incident, and expressed his apologies to the Stewart family, according to The News and Record.
“I know I hurt you beyond repair,” he said in a statement. “I’ve taken something irreplaceable.”
Her brother was in a “really good place” and was about to get married, and loved his family and church. Prayers for everyone involved.