Esworthy Wedding

The Esworthy wedding.

Their wedding anniversary should be a joyous milestone for Brian and Rebecca Esworthy.

Instead, the couple told a Dauphin County judge Thursday afternoon that the occasion will only remind them of the murder of Brian’s brother, Steve.

Steve Esworthy, the best man at his brother’s wedding, was fatally beaten and robbed as he walked home through Harrisburg after the reception last year.

His relatives, a dozen or so of them, expressed their grief – and remarkably their forgiveness – right before Judge Deborah E. Curcillo sentenced 20-year-old Shamir Hunter to life in prison for the murder.

“The world has lost a shining light,” Brian Esworthy told the tall, hulking Hunter. “What you did was evil. I hate what you did, but I’m not going to hate you. I forgive you.”

He urged Hunter to exercise his “freedom to turn to God” as he passes his remaining days in prison. “Go to God to destroy your sinful nature,” Brian Esworthy added. “God will forgive you and accept you.”

Shamir Hunter

Shamir Hunter

Police said Hunter killed the 31-year-old Steve Esworthy as the intoxicated man leaned against a fence in the 1200 block of Green Street. They said Hunter hit Esworthy on the back of the head so hard with a wooden stake that his skull was separated from his spine.

Hunter stole $20 from the dead man, then went home and bragged about the robbery on Facebook, investigators said.

Hunter took the witness stand during his trial and denied committing the slaying. He claimed police coerced him into giving a recorded confession to the murder and had put his DNA on the murder weapon.

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