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Forgiving Their Daughter's Killer

Andy and Kate were devastated to learn their daughter had been shot. They knew she was in a better place, and faced with her killer, realized they only had one option. Read Transcript

The doorbell rang.

And we were shocked to find a deputy Sheriff

on the other side of the door, with a woman who

identified herself as a victim's advocate

with the Leon County Sheriff's Office.

She was the one who told us that Ann had been shot.

NARRATOR: Kate and Andy Grosmaire

had just returned home from a Palm Sunday service, when

they got the news their 19-year-old daughter, Ann, had

suffered a gunshot wound to the head.

Ann had spent the day with her longtime boyfriend, Conor.

I asked was Conor with her.

And it was the deputy Sheriff who

said that Conor had shot her.

I couldn't process why that would have happened.

I knew it had to have been an accident.

It wasn't until we got to the hospital

and the detective told us that there had been an argument.

NARRATOR: Conor immediately turned himself in.

For now, the Grosmaire's could only

focus on Ann, who was on life support.

Her father, Andy, stayed right at her bedside

all night, praying.

About 2:00 in the morning, I was standing over a bed.

And I heard her say, forgive him.

And she did not say those actual words.

But I felt like she was saying it to me.

Because I knew exactly what she was talking about.

She has asked me to forgive Conor.

And I said, no I'm not going to do it, no way.

After about 25 minutes of saying no to her,

I finally said, I'll try.

But there she never woke up.

NARRATOR: The next day the deputy told them

what had taken place at Conor's house on Sunday.

KATE GROSMAIRE: That's when we found out

that they had been having a break-up fight.

And Conner had intended to get his father's shotgun

to kill himself.

But when Ann came back into the house, they continued to argue.

And he ended up pulling the trigger

and shooting Ann instead.

NARRATOR: On Thursday, the trauma surgeon

showed the Grosmaire's a CAT scan of Ann's brain,

riddled with shotgun pellets.

It was then they realized she would have

to be taken off life support.

As I was sitting there gazing down at her,

I saw her transform in the bed.

And what I saw was Christ became one with her, not separate,

but just as one, completely together.

I started sobbing.

And it was because I realized that Christ

was with my daughter.

And I realized that it was not Ann asking me to forgive Conor.

It was Jesus.

And how could I say no to Him, who had forgiven me

for all my transgressions?

NARRATOR: While at the hospital, Kate

discovered Conor had put her name on his jail visitation


She went to see him the next morning.

It was Good Friday.

KATE GROSMAIRE: He immediately started crying

and said he was sorry for what had happened.

And I gave him the message that Andy had given me.

And that was that he loved him and forgave him.

And I said, Conor, you know I love you.

And I forgive you.

And once I said those words, I didn't

feel like I needed to take them back then.

And I've never felt like I've needed to come back since.

NARRATOR: Kate returned to the hospital.

Ann was taken off life support that afternoon.

She died on Good Friday.

And she died in the 3 o'clock hour,

the same hour that Jesus died on the cross.

She is in the arms of Jesus.

She is in heaven.

She is at peace.

NARRATOR: Through a voluntary legal process

called restorative justice, the Grosmaire's

were able to sit in a room with Conor,

while they shared their grief.

And he expressed his remorse for shooting Ann.

After that meeting, in which kind of revealed details

of the two day argument that preceded Ann's death,

they were able to take the first steps toward reconciliation.

Forgiveness is my part.

Repenting is on the part of the offender.

And if you don't have those two pieces,

then you don't have reconciliation.

NARRATOR: Conor was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Andy and Kate visit him regularly, and call him weekly.

The Grosmaire's decision to forgive me

was the only reason that I ever came to believe in God,

and believe in Christ.

There is no other explanation for the forgiveness

the Grosmaire's showed me.

Normal people do not forgive the man that kills their daughter.

Normal people would hate and condemn.

Normal people would be angry, and hold onto that anger,

and wish me nothing but evil, and probably want me killed.

Instead, the Grosmaire's decided to respond with forgiveness,

and respond in love.

And that's nothing but the love of God shining through them.

NARRATOR: In the years since Ann's death in 2010,

Kate and Andy have become a spiritual mother and father

to the young man who took their daughter's life, nurturing

his newfound faith, and even attending his baptism,

all because they were able to forgive.

The main thing forgiveness has done

for me is to keep me from going to prison with Conor,

being locked in the cell of my own hatred, and anger,

and bitterness.

One thing that Kate said is that she

wants me to live a life that's worth two lives,

live a life that not makes up for the life I took,

but at least puts good back into the world.

I've got to give back.

I've got to serve others.

I've got to help others.

I cannot define Conor by that one moment.

Because if I defined Conor by that one moment,

then I was defining Ann by that moment as well.

And that would make her a murder victim.

And she was so much more than that.

So every year, even though there's

a date that is the anniversary of her death,

Holy Week will always hold that special message for us,

that, even though there is the death on the cross on Good

Friday, Resurrection will follow on Easter Sunday.


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