Widstrand opens up about attackers' trial amid recovery - FOX 35 News Orlando

Widstrand opens up about attackers' trial amid recovery

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On Tuesday, the jury had their say as they convicted a 16-year-old in the beating of Ray Widstrand. On Wednesday, Widstrand is having his own say -- opening up to Fox 9 News about the trails.

While he is no longer living in a rehabilitation facility, Widstrand is still recovering at home with his parents because he still has a long way to go to get back to his old life. For his family, Tuesday's verdict was a step in the right direction.

"I'm happy that some people are being held accountable for their actions," Widstrand told Fox 9 News as he sat with his parents at their New Brighton home.

The Widstrands are relieved the jury found Cindarion Butler guilty of aiding and abetting the assault and robbery Widstrand suffered in August as he walked through two groups of teens fighting in the street by his apartment on St. Paul's east side.

"We've been hoping and waiting for this, and the other trial didn't go that way,' Linda Widstrand said. "I believe that wasn't right."

The first trial against 19-year-old Isaac Maiden ended in acquittal of similar charges, but the Widstrands said they believe the blood evidence found on Butler's shoes and shorts were enough to convince jurors the second time around.

"The overall story in closing was better -- having DNA evidence was better," Peter Widstrand said. "That's what was different from the last trial."

Ray Widstrand did attend the closing arguments himself, sporting a superman hat and a cane to help him walk. While he's pleased with the verdict, he says he's already forgiven he people who nearly took his life.

"I feel focusing too much on the negative and holding grudges is no way to go through life," he explained. "I feel like these were just dumb kids who were reacting to a situation that they were all caught up in."

For now, the Widstrands plan to focus on recovery and look forward to the day when it's all behind them.

"I was knocked down pretty far there, but I survived and I want to keep working and getting back to things," Ray Widstrand said.

Doctors did have to remove a portion of Ray's skull due to swelling in his brain and an infection, but he should have surgery to replace it in a couple of months. In the meantime, he will continue rehabilitation at home and will begin outpatient treatment next week.

Anyone who wishes to help the Widstrands pay for the medical bills incurred can stop in at any Wells Fargo Bank and tell the teller they would like to donate to Ray's Fund.

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