A quarter-century has passed since Warrick Dunn's mother, Baton Rouge police Cpl. Betty Smothers, was gunned down outside a Jefferson Highway bank, yet the appeals by one of her two convicted killers continue to slowly make their way through the court system.
But the 43-year-old Dunn, a former Catholic High School, Florida State University and NFL running back, refuses to let the seemingly endless court battles control his life.
The battles haven't always gone in favor of Dunn and his five younger siblings. In 2016, Kevan Brumfield, who had spent 21 years on death row for fatally shooting Smothers, was resentenced to life behind bars after federal courts declared him intellectually disabled and thus ineligible for execution. Dunn, who met with Brumfield in 2007, spoke at the resentencing and said he doesn't believe Brumfield is mentally disabled.
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Earlier this month, the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to order a new trial for Henri Broadway, the other Baton Rouge man convicted of first-degree murder in the Smothers case. He currently sits on death row but is now asking a federal judge to grant him the relief he seeks.
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Dunn responded Wednesday to the Supreme Court ruling in Broadway's case, saying through his publicist, "Mr. Broadway's future lies in the hands of the court so I leave it there. He no longer has the power of over me or my family. I took back that power when I forgave him and Kevan Brumfield years ago."
Dunn was an 18-year-old senior at Catholic High when his mother was killed on Jan. 7, 1993.
“Many days I think of my mom and the loss our family has endured. No amount of ill feelings will ever return my mom to us and no amount of appeals will ever change the facts," he said. "I am sorry that it ever happened because the pain it caused can never be justified."
Smothers, 36, was working an off-duty security job and escorting then-grocery store manager Kimen Lee to the bank to make a night deposit when they were ambushed by Brumfield and Broadway. Lee was shot multiple times but survived.
For the past 21 years, Dunn has provided homes to single mothers through his nonprofit Warrick Dunn Charities and its Homes for the Holidays program.