Mother learns to forgive man who shot, killed son in 1990s

January 12, 2019 09:28 PM

Mary Johnson-Roy and Oshea Isreal may appear to be a happy mother and son, but their bond was actually formed in the most unexpected way. 

"We have a relationship just like a son and a mom. I can bop him upside his head," Mary said, lightly tapping Oshea's head. 


Mary's son, 20-year-old Laramiun Byrd, was murdered by then-16-year-old Oshea in 1993. 

"I was full of hatred," Mary said. "He was just a kid but I didn't care. I wanted him to have life in prison, never ever to get out."

Oshea told KSTP he did not know Laramiun. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison. While Oshea served time, Mary realized holding on to hate for him was keeping her from healing herself. 

"Because, I feel like, you hold onto that person forever, it's like cancer," she said.

So Mary decided to visit Oshea in prison. Slowly, they formed a relationship that kept growing. When Oshea was released in 2010, he joined her non-profit 'From Death to Life.'

More from KSTP:

'Forgive someone who doesn't deserve it': Moorhead woman dispenses wisdom in her own obit

"I think without having her in my support system, there's no telling if I would be sitting here right now," Oshea said. 

Mary has a message for people who may have troubles in finding peace, saying "it's possible to forgive" and "it's possible to have peace."

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Leah McLean

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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