A Michigan man has become an unlikely mentor for a teen who robbed and beat him when he was working as a pizza delivery man five years ago.
Marcellous Bennett, now 18, was just 13 years old when he joined his two older brothers in the crime.
Brady Middleton, 24, has undergone three years of physical therapy and lost a college basketball scholarship after the June 2009 beating. But he’s forgiven Bennett, who he feels is an intuitive young man with a potentially bright future.
“I see a lot of myself in Marcell,” Middleton told MLive. “I don’t see Marcell as a sum of mistakes and where he’s from. I see him as a human. That’s bigger and more important than any mistake, any background.”
When Middleton appeared at Bennett’s court hearings, he became sympathetic.
“It’s really when the seed was laid that ‘My gosh, this is a child.’ How the heck does somebody get there?” Middleton said.
He believed that because Bennett had no positive role models he stood no chance against falling into criminal activity.
“That changed my life at that point in time more than the assault,” Middleton said. “It was indicative of a bigger problem … This just wasn’t about me.”
That’s when he got involved, attending every single court hearing for the young man.
After he was released from juvenile detention, the pair met at Bennett’s foster home and played video games while making small talk.
“He understands a lot of stuff, even though he came from a different background. He understand some stuff that most people can’t understand,” Bennett told MLive. “Even though he came from a side of the tracks where it was livable and they didn’t have crimes or nothing, he can understand.”
Middleton says he reminds Bennett that he’s better than his mistakes.
Despite violating his probation a few times, Bennett has largely stayed out of trouble.
“With so much trust and how much he believe in me … I don’t want to disappoint him,” Bennett said.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Clyde Robinson, MLive.com / Emily Rose Bennett