I doubt I could do this:
A mother whose only child was shot dead has shown the ultimate forgiveness – by inviting her son’s killer to live next door.
Mary Johnson, 59, now lives in the apartment adjoining the home of 34-year-old Oshea Israel and they share a porch.
In February 1993, Mrs Johnson’s son, Laramiun Byrd, 20, was shot in the head by 16-year-old Israel after an argument at a party in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Israel, who was involved with drugs and gangs, was tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 and a half years. He served 17 before being released.
She sought a relationship with him:
Then just a few years ago, the 59-year-old teacher and devout Christian, asked if she could meet Israel at Minnesota’s Stillwater state prison.
She said she felt compelled to see if there was a way in which she could forgive her son’s killer.
At first he refused but then nine months later, changed his mind. Israel said he was shocked by the fact she wanted to meet him.
He said: ‘I believe the first thing she said to me was, ”Look, you don’t know me. I don’t know you. Let’s just start with right now.”
‘And I was befuddled myself.’
The pair met regularly after that. When Israel was released from prison around 18 months ago, Mrs Johnson introduced him to her landlord – who with her blessing, invited Israel to move into the building.
What a woman!