During a jailhouse prayer in May, Pierre Collins confessed to murdering his 10-year-old son and said it “was never about insurance money,” according to Pastor Harding Smith, who has stood by Collins’ side throughout the case.
“He said, ‘Pastor, you are right. I am ready to get this behind me. I want to tell you everyone that’s involved and put this to rest,’ ” Smith said at a news conference Tuesday.
Collins, 33, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree intentional murder in the death of his son, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
During Monday’s plea hearing, Collins said he had acted alone in the murder of his son, whose body was found in April in the Mississippi River.
Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the Hennepin County attorney’s office, reiterated Tuesday that Collins confessed to acting alone in open court and under oath.
However, Smith said that during a jailhouse visit, Collins said that he hadn’t acted alone.
“I can only say one thing — it’s not easy carrying a boy to the river, lowering him down. … I don’t know, but I’m not going to second-guess the prosecution,” Smith said. “ … I don’t think we will ever get to the whole story of what happened.”
“Pierre Collins has said a lot of things and it’s hard to weigh what’s fact and what’s fiction,” he said.
Smith became Collins’ “spiritual leader” when Barway was reported missing in March, and then became the family’s spokesman when Collins became the main suspect in the murder.
During Tuesday’s news conference, Smith said his goal was “for Pierre to own up to this if he was guilty.”
Every day, Smith said, he prayed with Collins to bring him to “a place where he is able to confess, if he is indeed guilty.”
He said the next step is for the community to start its healing process. “Losing a young brilliant mind, such as Barway, is never easy on the community,” Smith said.