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More than 500 mourners gathered on Tuesday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Whites Creek, Tennessee, to say their final farewells to 11-year-old Timea Lashay Batts, The Tennessean reports.

All eyes were on her father – who claimed he accidentally killed her on Aug. 8 – when he got up to speak at the memorial service.

The newspaper said Timea’s father, Timothy Batts, was released from jail on Friday after posting bond. The grieving man read a poem he wrote:

“I wish it was a nightmare, and I can awake now but it’s all too real. Since the day you were born, I never pictured life without you. I hear you saying, ‘I’m at a better place’ but I’d give anything for another chance to see your smiling face. I love you forever until we meet again.”

He told the assembled family and friends that he cries every day for Timea.

Batts, 29, is charged with reckless homicide, tampering with evidence, false reporting, and possessing a firearm as a felon. Investigators were bewildered by his story that someone shot his daughter as she walked home from the school bus stop. But detectives found evidence that the shooting occurred inside the family’s home in Hendersonville.

He then told the police he thought his daughter was an intruder entering the home as he slept. However, a surveillance video showed him awake and on the phone minutes before the shooting, The Tennessean said.

Batts asked God for forgiveness. “When I can’t breathe no more, heaven please let me in,” he prayed. The father talked about seeing Timea again in heaven.

SOURCE: The Tennessean | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter

SEE ALSO:

A Bright & Kind Girl: Tennessee Dad Charged In 11-Year-Old Daughter’s Death

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