A Florida mom hugged her daughter’s killer during a court hearing. Martha Guzman-DeJesus said she has forgiven Jordyn Howe, who shot and killed her daughter. The 16-year-old boy admits having possession of the gun. However, he claims the shooting was accidental.
In 2012, Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus, age 13, and her seven year old sister were riding the bus to school. Jordyn and his friends, who were also on the bus, were playing with a gun. As the boys thought the gun was unloaded, they took turns “shooting” at each other and the floor.
Jordyn eventually aimed the gun in Lourdes’ direction and fired. The teen said he was stunned when the gun fired a bullet, striking Lourdes in the neck.
Authorities were called to the scene. However, the 13-year-old girl did not survive. Jordyn was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon and manslaughter. The teen later admitted that he took the gun from his stepfather.
Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus’ family was devastated by the loss. Her father took his own life two weeks after she was killed. Her 7-year-old sister, who witnessed the shooting, is still struggling to cope.
As reported by ABC News, Martha said her daughter was the light of her life:
“She was very colorful, smart, nice, such a happy girl… I loved her so much… She was my best friend… she was my partner… Feels like just yesterday I saw her running around… dancing and modeling for the camera… memories I will cherish and keep in my heart forever.”
Although parents often respond to similar tragedy with anger, Martha is trying to heal through forgiveness. Although witnesses were stunned, the grieving mom hugged her daughters killer during court.
In an agreement with prosecutors, Jordyn pleaded guilty to three charges, including manslaughter with a deadly weapon. He was sentenced to 22 months in a juvenile detention center. However, the sentence was suspended per Martha’s request.
As reported by WGGB, Jordyn will spend one year in a juvenile detention center. He is also expected to tour the country with Martha, speaking out against gun violence. If he fails to follow through, the teen will be forced to serve his entire suspended sentence.
At the conclusion of the hearing, Jordyn apologized for his negligence. Martha responded by embracing the boy who took her daughter’s life.
It may be difficult to understand how a mom could hug her daughter’s killer. However, Martha said it is an important part of the healing process. Far too often, families focus on anger and revenge. Lourdes’ mother chose to turn the tragedy into something positive.