JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Terrence Wright's first court appearance on a murder charge Wednesday triggered an emotional response, specifically those who knew Pastor John Bowser.
"You gonna burn in hell, boy," one person said.
Investigators say 24-year-old Wright (pictured below) confessed to robbing and killing the 76-year-old on Tuesday for drug money.
"Why would you do this to a man of God like this, who had a touching on so many people's lives?" church member Lenord Simmons said. "That's all I want to know is why. That's all I want to ask his parents. Why?"
While the shock of Bowser's violent death is still fresh in many minds, others are choosing to remember his ability to make a difference.
Bowser first founded the Glorious Church of the Lord Jesus Christ in Newport News, Va., 30 years ago. He brought his fellowship to Jacksonville, and all were invited in to hear his message.
One of his most important lessons was helping those in need. The assistant pastor to the church, Michael Girard, says it was something he did every day.
"If helping them out with a meal would get them to the church, that's what he would do," Girard said. "He felt like that was his calling: to try and help folks. And I believe that's what he did."
Girard said Bowser even helped Wright in the past. Now that his mentor is gone, he hopes his followers will find it in their hearts to forgive.
"That's something he really pushed home to the congregation, so I believe he would've forgiven," Girard said.
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