Her son was murdered in 1993. Today, she’s helping his killer rebuild his life.

In February 1993, Mary Johnson was at work when she got the horrible news: Her son, Laramiun, had been murdered.

He'd been at a party when a fight broke out, and he wound up dead.

The killer? A 16-year-old boy named Oshea Israel.


At the trial, Mary felt only rage. "In court, I viewed Oshea as an animal," she told The Forgiveness Project.

"The root of bitterness ran deep, anger had set in, and I hated everyone. I remained like this for years, driving many people away."

But one day nearly 12 years later, she read something that made her see her anger in a new way.

It's been a long, difficult journey, but today Mary and Oshea have grown quite close. Photo by Brian Morgan, used with permission.

"Tell me the name of the son you love so,
That I may share with your grief and your woe."

So goes the poem "Two Mothers" about a conversation between the mothers of Jesus Christ and Judas Iscariot, sharing in their grief over losing their sons, all the while not knowing who the other was.

"It was such a healing poem all about the commonality of pain, and it showed me my destiny," Mary said.

She decided then that it wasn't enough to tell herself she had forgiven Oshea. It wasn't enough to try to block out the memories and never think of him again. No, to forgive Oshea — really forgive him — she'd have to embrace him with love. Help him get his life together.

It was the only way to get her own life back.

"Forgiveness isn't forgetting," she said in a phone interview. "People need to learn that forgiveness is for them, not the person that hurt them."

So she went to the prison to meet Oshea face to face for the first time since the trial.

It wasn't easy. And to this day, Mary says many people still don't understand her capacity to embrace her son's murderer. But what followed was an inspiring story of healing and forgiveness of the highest order.

Listen to Mary and Oshea talk about their unlikely bond in this inspiring video:

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Why they don't understand this is unclear. She holds more open era Grand Slam titles than any other tennis player, male or female. She's set Olympic records, ranking records, age records, prize money earnings records—the woman is a record-breaking machine. (Fun fact: Williams is the highest paid female athlete of all time, having earned $86 million in prize money during her career. The next highest is Maria Sharipova, with $38 million in prize money. If that's not total dominance, I don't know what is.)

Her list of tennis championships is a mile long. You don't even have to follow tennis to know that Serena Williams is a freaking powerhouse of a tennis player, not to mention one of the greatest athletes of all time.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

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