Pastor says family has forgiven suspect in Stewart's death

By Ben Watson - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - At the first Sunday worship service since Memphis native and MTSU basketball player Tina Stewart's death, members of her congregation comforted each other as they grieved. over her loss.

"She was stabbed to death," said Pastor David Rhodes of Soul Winners Missionary Baptist Church.  "A beautiful, warm young lady."

Rhodes talks and prays daily with Stewart's parents, Ida and Adrian Jackson.  During Sunday's service, Rhodes passed along a message from Stewart's father.

"He said he's already forgiven the young lady for what she did to his daughter," said Rhodes.  "And wants ya'll to be forgiving too."

Shanterrica Madden was arrested in connection with Stewart's death.  The two were roommates.

Church members said Stewart's family was raised on the teachings of forgiveness.  They said that is why the family is showing forgiveness even in the midst of tragedy.

Members also said the family's act of forgiveness does not mean that they are not hurting.  Rhodes said Stewart's father asked him to speak for the family because he is still too talk about his daughter.

"Right now, that's how they will always remember her," said Rhodes.  "Loving, caring, supportive.  That's how they are going to remember her."

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.