Mother keeps daughter's memory alive

March 5, 2009 3:23:59 PM PST
The mother of a 10-year-old girl killed by gunfire says she forgives the man found guilty Wednesday in her daughter's killing. Siretha White was killed three years ago while celebrating her 10th birthday.

On Thursday, White's mother is talking about her loss and the verdict.

It was a verdict that lifted an emotional weight from a family still in pain over the murder of Siretha White.

On Thursday afternoon, the mother of Siretha White says justice was done.

"She wanted justice before her day and she gave it to me yesterday," said Siretha Woods Mother of Siretha White.

The mother of Siretha White talks about the guilty verdict handed down by a jury, just days before what would have been her daughter's 14th birthday.

She's comforted by memories of the infectious smile of the girl her family nicknamed Nugget.

"I see teenage girls?.and I just see them and I'm like, my baby would be this size," said Woods.

Moses Phillips was convicted of firing the fatal bullet that killed White in March of 2006. Prosectors say Phillips was trying to kill two rival gang members that day who were among a group of men standing on the porch of the home of Siretha's aunt. The child was celebrating inside the house at her surprise birthday party when shots rang out. Siretha was struck in the head and died instantly.

On Thursday Woods says the verdict didn't bring her joy.

"It was a relief to hear the verdict and still a sad moment. Because that's my godson. He's my godson," said Woods.

Woods has known Phillip's mother for years and vows they'll remain close despite the building tension between the two families over Siretha's murder. She also has forgiven him.

"He was asking, was it all right, that if things were going to be all right?I said, you pray and have faith in God. that's the only way to set you free," said Woods.

On the day, she buried her daughter, her husband of 20 years who was hospitalized died. Shortly after that, the 44-year-old-mother of twelve lost her job. A now employed Woods looks back on those trials and says it's her belief in God and the love of Siretha that gets her through the tough times.

"I was making it from one meal to the next meaL. Sometimes there wouldn't be food on the table. I've been blessed. I've been blessed. So I thank God for that," said Woods,

This weekend as they have in every year since her death. The family of Siretha white celebrates her birthday. They plan a get together for Saturday and hope they can continue to heal from tragedy while keeping her memory alive.