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Men Apologize To Toddler's Family

September 8, 2009, 6:39 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Men Apologize To Toddler's Family
The parents of a toddler killed during a fight at a church are speaking out.  It happened Thursday in Wheaton, Minnesota during an evening prayer service. Court papers say David Collins tried to attack Claude Hankins with a baseball bat, but hit Hankins' 14-month old step-daughter, Aundrea Brownlow, in the head.

Darryl Kennedy later showed up and tried to hit Hankins with a two-by-four. He even followed Hankins to the hospital to continue the brawl.

The toddler died just hours later and Collins is now charged with two counts of second degree murder, two counts of attempted second-degree murder and assault. Kennedy is charged with assault.

Both men were in court Tuesday. About a dozen people were in the courtroom when the two men appeared before a judge. There were a lot of tears but some forgiveness too.

Images of their daughter in her first 14 months of life will never leave Claude and Sherry Hankins. Nor will her final moments.

"She was laying flat on her back. And when she was picked up I knew something was very, very wrong," Sherry said.

A medical examiner determined Aundrea died from a traumatic head injury. Police say David Collins swung the bat. Both he and Darryl Kennedy apologized to the family Tuesday in court and the Hankins believe Collins was sincere.

"I did let him know, you know, as he passed by, I told him, you know, 'I forgive you.' And he said 'I didn't mean for this to happen' and I said 'I know, I forgive you,'" Sherry said.

"Mr. Kennedy? I don't feel any sincerity," Claude said. "I don't feel he was sincere in his apology at all."

They both hope to see more charges against Kennedy in the future. According to court papers he gave Collins a bat knowing he planned to confront Hankins with it.

They say it all started because Collins was upset over a washer and dryer being moved from his place to Hankins' and Hankins owing him $20.

"Nothing could have prepared me for something like that," Sherry said.

Friends and family are preparing for Aundrea's funeral Wednesday in the church were she was killed. The Hankins want justice but say there are steps they need to take to move forward as well.

"Am I upset, mad? Yes," Claude said. "But as far as the forgiving part, I forgive them. I forgive them."

A judge set bail for David Collins at $750,000. Darryl Kennedy's is $100,000.

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