CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - The father of Devin Hawkins describes it as surreal. Last April a stray bullet hit his 13-year-old son in the back and killed him.
Gunshots were firing during a neighborhood fight and within moments the innocent and young bystander would be shot down just feet from his front door. He was running inside to try to escape danger.
"Nobody in the world ever thinks something like this could happen in their life," said Devin’s father Octavious Hawkins.
William Timothy Walker was arrested for the crime.
Walker told police he had been being bullied by neighborhood kids even assaulted by them in the days that proceeded the shooting. He told them he had purchased a gun to protect himself. After a verbal altercation he used it. He said he never intended to harm Devin who was a good distance away. In fact he claimed the two of them were friends.
On Wednesday Walker would sign a plea agreement that would sentence him to thirteen years behind bars. It was an agreement reached with the input of Hawkin’s family.
"It's time to move on in life and get the settlement that we need and that our son did not die in vain," said Hawkins.
Before the judge read the final terms of the agreement, Walker gave remorseful remarks to everyone in the court. He apologized the community and to his own family, urging them to stay strong while he’s away.
Then he faced about 15 of Hawkin’s family members sitting in the courtroom. He told them that he wasn’t a bad person just was caught in a bad situation.
“Despite what you may think of me I’m going to continue to pray for you like I have been,” said Walker.
Walker’s defense attorney believes the arrangement is fair and that both families used careful judgment.
"I hope everyone learns that this culture of violence has to end, it's a terrible tragedy," said attorney Vaughn Jones.
The hearing ended with Walker taking candid ownership of his mistakes and with the Hawkin’s hope that their story gives a moment of pause before someone pulls a trigger. And while an apology won’t bring back young Devin, it did bring forgiveness and closure after a difficult year.
"The blessing that he gave our family, that was very very helpful to the family. That was a good thing and I commend him on that," said Hawkins.