Father talks about forgiving his son’s murderer after sentencing

Father of murder victim (WLFI)
Father of murder victim (WLFI)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Jacob Guffey, 20, will spend most of his life in prison for what Aaron Hunter Sr. calls an act of Satan.

“All Satan needs is one second of your mind, your time, and then it takes the rest of your life to get out of it,” said Hunter Sr. “If you put yourself in a certain position around certain people, a certain atmosphere, it happens.”

Guffey admitted to shooting and killing Hunter’s oldest son, Aaron Hunter Jr., 36, as well as Terry Smith Jr., 46 while robbing a Lafayette home on Perrine Street last year.

“Sometimes, you know, the hurt, the grief, brings about anger,” Hunter Sr. explained. “And we deal with that as well, but in all we forgive.”

He shook hands with Matthew Oertel, the other man recently sentenced for his son’s murder, as he walked away from court in September.

On Thursday, nine people including Guffey’s grandmother, brother, girlfriend, high school wrestling coach and welding instructor spoke about how loving, kind, and all-around wonderful person Guffey was before he got involved with drugs.

“It just shows how quickly that somebody can change up and be deceived by the devil himself,” Hunter Sr. said.

Guffey’s attorney spoke about his client’s rough childhood. He was abused physically and mentally by parents who were also involved with drugs, but he had several positive influences in his life. They said they’ll continue to support him in prison and when he gets out.

“Are you happy with the sentence today?” asked News 18’s Kayla Sullivan.

“I felt like he should have got the maximum,” Hunter Sr. said. “But we accept whatever the judge does.”

After several people praised the type of person Guffey used to be, Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington brought his point home: two men lost their lives in this senseless crime and now all their families have are memories.

“He’s a young man that would stop and help anybody,” Hunter Sr. said as he remembered his son. “Great son, great father and [he] loved God.”

Guffey apologized in court not only to the victims’ families but to his friends, family and all of Tippecanoe County.

Guffey said he accepts his sentence and takes full responsibility.

“I vow to be a positive influence on my son,” Guffey said at his sentencing.

Guffey’s girlfriend was pregnant at the time of the murders. His son is now 7 months old.