Two South Philadelphia Men Show the Power Of Forgiveness

Two South Philadelphia Men Show the Power Of Forgiveness

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Men and lively conversations roll in and out all day at "Jazz U Up" barbershop on 16th and Tasker,  in the heart of south Philadelphia.

But nobody saw this coming.

Will Little recalls the moment when Clarence Hatton, the brother of the man he murdered, walked into the barbershop.

"I thought he was a customer," said Little.

Clarence Hatton entered the barbershop with a purpose.

"I had a lot of hatred in my heart," said Hatton.

Charles Hodge found himself stuck in the middle. He has been lifelong friends with Hatton. He also happens to be co-workers with Little at the barbershop.  He describes the mood of the shop on the day Hatton came to talk to Little.

"Oh, it was real tense that day," said Hodge.

What happened that day actually started a few blocks away, 25 years ago.

Outside a now closed skating rink, rival neighborhood teens clashed in, for them, was a typical day in the life of the streets.

"I could hear the bullets hitting the wall. I looked out and I could see 3 guys shooting at us," said Little.

Will Little, 19, took cover and fired his gun. Eighteen year old Terrence Brice was hit and died.

Will spent ten years in prison for 3rd degree murder.

"I knew I had to get my life together," said Little.

He did and has the commendations and respect to show it. He is making a big impact mentoring mostly young men.

He has been sharing his gritty tale of "hustling to make it big".

"Because all we was doin' was dyin' and we was sellin' death and buyin' into death," said Little.

While Will moved forward promoting success through education, his victim's older brother, Clarence Hatton, stuck to the code of the street, revenge.

"I was starting to follow him around. I spent nights under cars," said Hatton.

"I never knew who he was," said Little.

But Will knew "the code". He knew somebody would come for him.

"Let destiny take its place," said Little.

Charles Hodge was in the middle of a mess.

"I didn't want to see nothin' happen to neither one of them," said Hodge.

Not to the life-long friend he loved or to the new found friend and co-worker he respected.

"Instead of listening, I started intervening, look, that ain't where we have to be," said Hodge.

Hatton says Hodge gave him the advice to "stop it because you're not that same person anymore."

The man he vowed to kill verse the community now loved. Clarence suffered several break downs and needed heavy medication.

"It was killing me!" said Hatton.

There was only one thing left to do.

"[Clarence] Came in the door, he walked past me; he didn't speak. We always speak. And when he talked to Will, I was a little nervous. I didn't know what to expect," said Hodge.

It was time to reveal himself and end this. 

"I walked straight up to that brother, I went straight to him," said Hatton.

"He said, you know for years I've been holding this in, I forgive you for that, for my brother," said Little.

"And it was like a relief came over me," said Hatton.

"And I was like wow praise God," said Little.

"We talk mostly everyday now," said Hatton.

"I was like welcoming it. That's what I want. You always want to be forgiven especially for something like that," said Little.

"It was a little scary you know, he's been walking around with this a longtime. I don't know where you're going with it," said Hodge.

And where these three are going with it now nobody could have predicted or quite believe.

Will, Clarence, and Charles have teamed up and more men are joining in. They are taking their life experiences and conflict resolutions to where it's needed most, in a school to inspire others.

"Today is a new day, it's a new day for me. I can't even explain the feeling, it's just a great feeling," said Hatton.

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