Mom Helps Teen Who Killed Daughter Avoid Prison

Ady Guzman-DeJesus to tour schools with Jordyn Howe
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2014 8:39 AM CDT

It was a scene Florida Judge Ellen Sue Venzer "could have never imagined" after 20 years in a courtroom: a mother embracing her daughter's killer. But that's what she witnessed on Tuesday during sentencing for 16-year-old Jordyn Howe, who pleaded guilty to the accidental shooting of Lourdes "Jina" Guzman-DeJesus, 13, on a school bus two years ago, the Miami Herald reports. Howe had brought his stepfather's pistol aboard the bus in November 2012 and began showing it off to friends, including Jina—letting them cock it, aim, and pull the trigger. At one point, Howe shot it at the floor, but no bullet fired. He then pointed the gun at Jina and pulled the trigger. A bullet struck her in the neck, killing her. Howe immediately confessed, pleading guilty as a juvenile to manslaughter with a deadly weapon and other charges.

But the courtroom embrace isn't the story's only remarkable detail: Jina's mother, Ady Guzman-DeJesus, gave her blessing to a lighter sentence, a plea deal that will have Jordyn spend a year at a youth facility and speak to schools about the dangers of guns—alongside Guzman-DeJesus, who told reporters, "That was Jina’s friend, too, and I know she wouldn’t want the worst." Jordyn had faced up to 22 months in prison, ABC News reports, and Guzman-DeJesus initially wanted him handed a stiff sentence. In court on Tuesday, her lawyer said the family had, after intense therapy, come to see that the plea "meets the best needs of the community." "Justice is already done," Guzman-DeJesus said, per People. "I really do forgive him." (Another moving courtroom scene recently involved a widow and the driver who killed her husband.)

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