Florida mother forgives and hugs daughter's killer, spares him from prison
A Florida mother agreed to a plea deal Tuesday sparing her daughter's killer from prison, and stated that she has found peace with her child's death.
13-year-old Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus was accidentally shot by then 15-year-old Jordyn Howe on a school bus in November 2012. He will serve one year in a juvenile facility, and have to perform community service.
Howe had brought his step-father's gun onto the bus and fired it towards the floor of the vehicle. When nothing happened, he pointed the gun at Guzman-DeJesus and pulled the trigger. She was shot in the neck and died at Miami Children's Hospital. Howe attended Somerset Academy Silver Palms, while Guzman-DeJesus was a student at Palm Glades Preparatory Academy. Both schools are in Miami.
Initially, Howe was charged as an adult with manslaughter, carrying a concealed weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm, and the victim's mother agreed with the prosecutor's decision.
"He should just pay for what he did and he has to pay as an adult," Ady Guzman-DeJesus told NBC Miami in January 2013.
"It teaches other kids to – this is what you get if you do things that you're not supposed to do. And I know it's not going to bring her back but at least he will pay for what he did."
At Howe's sentencing however, a still distraught Guzman-DeJesus spoke of forgiveness and changing others' lives.
"[Lourdes] will never have [the] opportunity to have a child, to bear me a grandchild, because of stupid gun violence," she wrote in a statement read by her attorney, Ron Book.
"Justice is already done," she told reporters outside the courtroom. "I really do forgive him."
Howe will have to travel to schools and warn children about the dangers of guns as part of his sentence.
"We can make a change to help other children," Guzman-DeJesus said.