AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Austin residents Phil and Jill Henderson have carried the grief of losing their 22-year-old son, Bakari, every day since he was killed while traveling in Greece in 2017.

“We haven’t really been able to completely move on. I mean, we try day-by-day to do what we can just to keep moving forward. But it’s hard when you have that dark cloud hanging over you,” Jill said.

The Hendersons say they still haven’t gotten justice for the killing of their son, more than four years after Bakari was beaten to death by a group of men on the Greek island of Zakynthos. The incident was captured on surveillance camera, showing video of the group chasing Bakari down a street and beating him until he died about 30 seconds later.

“It started because someone slapped Bakari, so he was defending himself,” his mother said. “A mob chased him down several feet, beat him to death and left him in the street to die. That is inhumane, and it is just barbaric behavior on anyone’s behalf.”

In 2018, six of nine men charged were convicted on reduced charges of assault with sentences ranging from five to 15 years. At least four of them have already been released and none were charged with deliberate homicide.

“All these years…I look at it with disbelief, but it actually happened,” Phil said. “But it’s just hard to comprehend that somebody could do something like that to another and leave him there on the street.” 

Unlike America’s judicial system which prohibits double jeopardy, Greece allows for a person to be charged for the same crime twice. In November 2018, a prosecutor ordered the retrial of six men — five Serbian nationals and a British man of Serbian origin — who were found guilty of the deadly assault. A seventh man, a Greek national, will also stand trial for murder. That retrial had been postponed up until now, giving the Hendersons a second shot a justice.

“We just really want to make sure that the defendants are charged with murder this time. Because, for their defense attorneys to allege that it was not intentional [it] still does not weigh well with me,” Jill said.

The Henderson family said Bakari was traveling for a work-related photoshoot, as he was getting ready to launch a new clothing line. His parents describe him as someone who lit up every room he walked in, was compassionate, inquisitive and loved learning about other cultures. Bakari’s father says he often thinks of how the situation could have played out differently.

Scan this QR code to donate to the Henderson family if you are willing to help them.

“How could anybody do something like that to another human being, another person? [Who] if only they would’ve gotten to know, believe me, they would have probably loved [him],” Phil said. “I just think about him daily.”

Both Jill and Phil say their faith has helped them through this tragedy and they are praying this outcome will be different. Although the trial will be in Greek and they cannot understand what is said, Jill said they feel obligated to physically be there to represent Bakari. During the last trial, she said his attackers did not once make eye contact with her or her family.

“They need to be able to see that Bakari was loved. Bakari was a human, he was a man,” she said.

The Hendersons left for Greece on Wednesday. The retrial is set to start on Monday, Feb 21.

Jill said the family has gone through not just emotional stress, but financial stress traveling back and forth to Greece. Bakari’s friends set up a fund via PayPal to help offset the trial and travel expenses. You can scan this QR code below if you so choose to donate.