Riverwalk attack victim speaks out, forgives attackers

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ashley Solesbee (From Facebook.com)
Ashley Solesbee (From Facebook.com)

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- Surrounded by family and pastors inside Bevedere First Baptist Church's youth worship center, Ashley Solesbee sits quietly. Her face is still badly bruised from Friday night's River Walk attack.

"You have a lot of strength. Have people told you that?" asks News 12 reporter Chad Mills.

"I've heard," says Solesbee with a smile. "I've never thought of myself as a strong person to be honest, though. But, it's not my strength, it's God's strength. God's using me."

Solesbee is dealling with a lot of pain. Last Friday, around 11 PM, the North Augusta woman suffered blows from a baseball bat or metal pipe along with Wesley Spires of Edgefield.

"It was our first official date," she says. "He took me to dinner and ice-skating, where he fell, so of course, I laughed at him."

She and Spires finished off their date at what should have been a peaceful place.

"We weren't ready to end the night. We weren't ready to meet each other's parents yet, so the River Walk sounded like a great idea," says Solesbee.

An incident report says the two were on a bench behind Fort Discovery when they were attacked. The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says, when it comes to a description, there's not much to go on. The alleged suspects are described as black males with short dreadlocks wearing dark clothes and saggy pants.

The report says two cell phones were stolen from a battered Solesbee and Spires.

"When everything was finished, he took my hand, and he took me to his truck and God continued to give him strength, and he drove us both to the hospital, and he got us both inside the ER and refused to be seen until I was being seen and taken care of," Solesbee says of Spires, who she calls her hero.

Solesbee was released from University Hospital on Monday. When asked about her injuries, she tells News 12 that she's a lot better off than Spires. The Edgefield man is still recovering from a skull fracture and bleeding to the brain.

Even though she wants justice, solesbee says she's not mad at her two attackers. In fact, she's already forgiven them.

"You would probably invite them right here to your church in the future, if possible," asks Mills.

"Most definitely, and I know my church would accept them," she answers.

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