HOUSTON - The youth minister who confessed to a 1994 killing is being widely forgiven by members of his former congregation, who say they admire his courage in finally surrendering to police.
Calvin Wayne Inman, 29, remains jailed without bail since he was charged Wednesday with capital murder in the stabbing death of a convenience store clerk during a robbery. He was 16 at the time.
During Sunday's service at the 800-member Elim Church, congregants praised the recently ordained Inman as a born-again role model taking responsibility for his sin.
"He's a hero, really," said Kelley Graham, 24. "I don't know how many people would do what he did. The Bible says you just need to confess to God. Calvin took an extra step."
Inman went to authorities on Feb. 5 and admitted that he stabbed Iqbal Ahmed, 64, nearly 14 years ago in suburban Pasadena. According to police, Inman said he and a 13-year-old friend planned to rob the convenience store. When Ahmed asked to see identification before giving them tobacco, Inman stabbed Ahmed in the chest with a kitchen knife, police said.
Inman resigned from the youth job in December.
"The debt he's paying to our society is teaching our young people to do the right thing," said Cheryl Ellis, a member of the church's youth staff. "To lock him away someplace and say he owes it to society is robbing the next generation of a mentor."
Robin Thac said her 17-year-old son was active in the youth group that Inman led.
"I am thrilled my son has a role model to accept responsibility the way Calvin has," Thac said. "There are way too many men who don't accept responsibility."
Police have said Inman's friend, now 28, has acknowledged being involved in the robbery but not the stabbing. Because of 1994 juvenile laws preventing prosecution of people 13 or younger, police said they could not charge the friend.