HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The mother of a 2016 murder victim said she has forgiven the man that killed her daughter.
Chandra Dewberry said she told Taiwan Blakely in court Monday that after two years she forgave him for killing her daughter LaRita Dewberry, who was his ex-girlfriend at the time.
Blakely pled guilty to second-degree murder and is serving a total of 30 years with 15 years to serve in prison and 15 years on suspended probation.
“I’m not forgiving him for him,” said Dewberry. “I’m forgiving him for me, for us, and for the kids, because I have to use my faith for the strength to be able to raise these children now.”
Dewberry has full custody of her daughter’s five children ranging from ages 2 to 9-years-old. She said she believes her daughter was in an abusive relationship with Blakely, which ultimately led to her death.
“One time she told me that he held her hostage in the house,” Dewberry said. “I later found this out after she died that one of her children told me that he had a gun and put it to their mom and said I’ll kill you.”
Dewberry said her daughter came to Hattiesburg from Chicago to be closer to family less than two years prior to her murder. Family members said she rarely spoke of her situation with Blakely until days leading up to her death.
“That’s the one thing that hurts the most is not knowing that she was going through that and I’m seeing her and talking to her if not daily then every other day and I never knew,” said her older sister, Marsadie Bell.
Family members said they wish she would have said something sooner and for those that did know, they wish those individuals would’ve came forward before her death.
“If you knew what was going on, somebody should’ve spoke up because the same way they spoke up afterwards, they should have spoke up before and we wouldn’t be sitting here right now," said Bell.
Dewberry said she wants anyone who is in a violent relationship to speak up before it’s too late.
“For men that are in abusive relationships, get out,” Dewberry said. “For women that are in abusive relationships, get out.”
She said the hardest part of coping with her daughter’s death is explaining to her grandchildren why their mother will never come home again.
“The 6-year-old sometimes still cries at night,” said Dewberry. “He still chases her in his sleep saying mom you said you were coming back because that’s the last thing he remembers is that she said hey I’ll be right back.”
Dewberry said while she forgives Blakely, she still thinks his sentencing was unfair, but she knows it will not bring her daughter back.
“You killed my daughter and you still get to live,” said Dewberry. “The taxpayers are getting ready to make sure you have three hot meals and a roof over your head. They’re going to make sure that you’re taken care of, but we have to go to the cemetery. He gets visits. His family will visit him and he can communicate with them. My daughter can’t do that anymore.”
“We have to talk to a headstone,” said Bell.
Dewberry said that she wants men or women who are in a domestic situation to know there are resources and organizations available and willing to help.
“Our position right now is to women or men that are in domestic situations is to speak up, speak out, and get out,” said Dewberry.
If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence situation, you can contact the 24/7 hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).