Skip to main content

Son seeks redemption, not retribution for suspects in father's slaying

By the CNN Wire Staff
Click to play
Teens beat grandpa to impress girls?
  • "I want God to reach out and touch those young men," son of slain man says
  • "If I die tonight, I die a happy man," the victim said hours before his death
  • 3 teenage boys are charged in the killing

Read more about this story from CNN affiliate WDBJ.

(CNN) -- The son of an 81-year-old man who was fatally beaten Sunday after attending his granddaughter's wedding in Lynchburg, Virginia, said he holds no animosity toward the three teenagers who are being held as suspects.

"I don't want retribution, I want redemption," Gregg Baker said about the killing of his father, George Baker. "I want God to reach out and touch those young men and change their lives," the younger Baker said in an interview with CNN affiliate WDBJ.

George Baker, a retired salesman, had traveled from his home in Tempe, Arizona, to Lynchburg in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains for the wedding, said his son, the father of the bride.

"Several times at the reception, my daughter coaxed him out on the dance floor and I saw them one time hugging and I overheard him tell her how beautiful she looked, how happy he was for she and her husband and (how he) enjoyed the wedding service immensely," Gregg Baker told HLN's "Prime News" Thursday.

Video: Man, 81, beaten to death

He added that his father spoke that night with the pastor, telling him, "If I die tonight, I die a happy man."

After the ceremony, the patriarch was walking down Main Street toward a restaurant where the reception was to be held when he was attacked by the three boys in what they told police was an attempt to impress some girls, Gregg Baker said.

The elderly victim was taken to a hospital, where he died Monday morning, police said.

Two 16-year-old boys and a 13-year-old boy have been charged in the killing. "Really, it's difficult to get your hands around this and try to rationalize this type of behavior," said Lynchburg Police Capt. Todd Swisher. "Three individuals brutally assault a defenseless person, and that's what happened."

Baker family spokesman Andy Hill called the incident "a wake-up call for everybody out there to really pay attention to your children, let them understand that there are a lot of second- and third-order consequences for acts like this, a lot of people get hurt."

Under Virginia law, the 13-year-old cannot be tried as an adult, but the 16-year-olds will be tried as adults, said criminal justice attorney Jennifer Bonjean.