With trial set, mother of Towson student killed in hit and run says she can forgive

COOKSVILLE, Md. - The man police say killed her son is set for trial in September.  Howard County's Cecilia Roe hopes suspect Diogo Facchini pleads guilty in the hit and run death of her boy, 22-year-old Matthew Cheswick, knowing a trial will be torture on her family.  But if she had the chance to look Facchini in the eye, she'd say something many parents just couldn't.  She sat down to talk on-camera for the first time as new details emerge in her son's case.

It has been just 37 days since Matthew Cheswick's death.  But in that short time, his mother, Cecilia Roe, has done the unthinkable.  She has summoned the strength to forgive the man police say ended his life.  She says, "Matthew wouldn't want me to hold a grudge.  And I know Matthew has forgiven him."

It is an incredible act of selflessness, following what Cecilia refers to as ‘The tragedy'.  She explains, "I'm closing the doors on parts of Matthew's life but I can't close doors on Matthew's life because I want to remember he was part of my life.  He did exist.  He was a huge part of my life."

It's a part of her life that has been ripped away for good.  Matthew, a Towson University student, was killed Memorial Day weekend in Ocean City while crossing Coastal Highway.  Police say Diogo Facchini hit him with his car and kept on driving.  Newly released court documents show the 30-year-old blew a .27 on an alcohol test.  Roe says, "I don't even know really know what to call it.  It was more than an accident.  It was more than irresponsibility."

And the court agrees.  Facchini was arraigned this week on 10 charges, including negligent homicide by car, driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.  Records show chilling details about the moments after the crash.  After ending up in a dead end surrounded by witnesses, police say Facchini, glassy-eyed and smelling of alcohol, got out of his car and lit up a cigarette as Matthew Cheswick lay dying down the street.

But Cecilia Roe can't think about that moment.  She is holding onto happier memories, saying, "Shortly before going to Ocean City he blew me a kiss and I blew him a kiss and he did that.  That image has been in my mind a lot, just seeing him and his happy face, his happy, sweet face."

Matthew had a smile that lit up a room and a personality that proved even a life short on years can still make an impact when it is lived with kindness and a gentle heart.  Others agree, setting up a memorial fund in Matthew's honor so his legacy can live on.  The organizers raised enough to buy a memorial bench on the Ocean City boardwalk on the one month anniversary of his death.  Now they want to create a scholarship to reward another kid who makes an impact just like Matthew.  If you're interested in donating, contact bbelsinger@comcast.net or kristy.annelli@gmail.com

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