Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victim's Forgiving Mood to Attacker; Homeless Man Offers No Judgment for Teen Facing Up to 40 Years

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Victim's Forgiving Mood to Attacker; Homeless Man Offers No Judgment for Teen Facing Up to 40 Years

Article excerpt

Byline: David Hunt

A Jacksonville teenager facing up to 40 years in prison has found support from the same homeless man whom he chillingly tried to kill on the streets of Mandarin last December.

Eric Francis Sandefur, 17, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder Wednesday in the stabbing of 28-year-old Jason James Jerome, a transient who told police he was sleeping near Smitty's Internet Bar 7 on Kori Road when Sandefur attacked him with a knife for no apparent reason.

Jerome was stabbed in the hip, chest, stomach and neck. The attack also nearly severed a finger.

Jerome watched Wednesday's plea hearing with Sandefur's mother and grandfather. They declined to speak about the case outside the courtroom, but Jerome later released a statement forgiving his assailant:

"I believe everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we are lucky enough to walk away from them with a second chance. All life is sacred and should be cherished. I believe the only judgment that ever matters is that which we receive in the next life. …

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