Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel

In 1993, Oshea Israel was a teenager in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One night at a party Oshea got into a fight, which ended when he shot and killed a teenager named Laramiun Byrd. Laranium was the only child of Mary Johnson.

A dozen years later, Mary went to the penitentiary to visit the man who murdered her son.

After serving 15 years, Oshea was released from prison. Soon after, Mary brought him to StoryCorps to talk about their friendship.

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Mary Johnson founded From Death to Life, an organization that supports mothers who have lost children to homicide, and encourages forgiveness between families of murderers and victims.

Originally aired May 20, 2011, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Photos courtesy of Brian Mogren.