Two years after her daughter was accidentally shot and killed by a classmate on a school bus, Ady Guzman-DeJesus faced her daughter’s killer, Jordyn Howe, in court. Ady did something when she saw Howe that most people find hard to believe; she hugged him and offered him a generous plea deal. It might be hard to imagine how any parent could hug their child’s killer, but Ady saw an opportunity to do one better than sending a teenager to prison for making a terrible mistake.
Howe accidentally shot 13-year-old Lourdes Guzman-DeJesus in November of 2012 on a Miami-Dade school bus. Howe had taken his stepfather’s pistol and was bringing it to school. He was showing off the weapon to his friends when it accidentally discharged and hit Lourdes in the neck, causing her death. At his sentencing, Howe pleaded guilty to manslaughter with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a minor, and carrying a concealed weapon. After originally pushing for a harsh sentence for Howe, Ady changed her mind, recognizing that her daughter’s killer was only a child when he made this grave mistake. Ady offered to reduce the sentence so that Howe would spend a minimal amount of time in a juvenile rehabilitation center, and would then be obligated to travel with Ady to lecture about the dangers of guns.
Ady’s decision shows an incredible level of forgiveness, and while some might say they could never fathom doing what this mother has just done, others might argue that forgiveness is the only remedy for great tragedy. Any way you look at it though, what Ady has done is honorable and brave in ways that are simply astounding.