This mom came face to face with the teen who murdered her son. Courtroom veterans had never seen a response like hers.
Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim was shot in the back of his head, as he walked home, carrying food for himself and his wife.
Authorities say he was an innocent and unsuspecting victim.
After two teenagers pleaded guilty this month at separate court hearings and were sentenced to prison terms, Abdul-Mutakallim’s mother, Rukiye, offered to hug them.
Javon Coulter said she could. She also embraced Javon’s mother.
Rukiye wants to visit them in prison regularly and help them become better people.
She thinks about it this way: They have been infected by a disease, but are young. They can be cured.
Vengeance, she said, solves nothing. It won’t bring back her son.
She walked up to Javon, who’d just admitted involvement in her son’s death, and hugged him.
She wanted them to know she could see beyond the act that took her son’s life.
And she pledged to do everything possible to make Javon a better man.
“His death was already ordained,” she told him. “Maybe the purpose is to save your life.” Rukiye, who is 66, said her son’s killers are children who have mothers, like herself.
“Those young men – although they took my son’s life in the manner they did – we need to fight for them. Because they are going to come back out. And they will be older. But if they have no light, then this same disease is going to repeat itself and they are going to take another person’s child’s life and eventually their own,” Rukiye said. “And every mother’s heart must feel this.”