A father who has been charged with shooting and killing his 11-year-old daughter has given a eulogy and released doves at her funeral.
Timothy Batts said he ‘never pictured life’ without his first-born child Timea, nine days after he gunned her down inside their Hendersonville, Tennessee, home.
The 29-year-old asked for forgiveness in front of 500 relatives at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 24 hours after he was released on bond.
He was arrested last week and charged with reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, false reporting and other charges in connection with his daughter’s death.
Batts told police he fired at the youngster thinking she was an intruder entering the home as she slept – but police have video surveillance that shows him awake and on his phone just minutes before the shooting.
But friends and family have insisted the deadly incident was an accident, and raised the funds he needed to post bond.
He read a poem to mourners during the emotional service.
‘I wish it was a nightmare and I can awake now but it’s all too real,’ Batts said, ‘Since the day you were born I never pictured life without you.
‘I hear you saying, ‘I’m at a better place’ but I’d give anything for another chance to see your smiling face. I love you forever until we meet again.
‘Forgive me for all of my sins and let me start all over again,’ Batts said. ‘When I can’t breathe no more, heaven please let me in.
‘Every tear I shed, wash it with my soul cause I’ll see my baby Timea again where the streets are made of gold.’
Batts’ bond was lowered Friday from $1million to $500,000. He posted bond that night.
He originally told police that his daughter had told him she had been shot after school. She later died at the hospital.
Batts’ uncle, church Elder Patrick Starnes, delivered the eulogy.
‘When the angel Timea ascend into heaven, was it tragedy or was it transition? Timea loved the school Knox Doss,’ Starnes said.
‘She lived for the summer just to attend the school. She got her wish only if it was for just one day. She was a beautiful young lady. She was an entrepreneur at age 10.
‘This is not a mistake. He don’t take the babies for no reason. God has a plan. God knows exactly what he’s doing.’