Alaska: Father Forgives Son’s Murderer — “We love you; we do”

From: Anchorage Daily News

At Murderer’s Sentencing, Grieving Fathers Find Unlikely Bond
A story of addiction, death and forgiveness

In a downtown courtroom Friday, Rob Kagel didn’t know what to feel as he looked for the first time on Osaiasi Saafi, the man who’d shot and killed his son.

[…]

Then it was Saafi’s turn. He accepted the decision of the jury, he said quietly. He prayed every day for the family to forgive him. He was sorry for the heartache his actions had caused.

From his seat in the gallery, Kagel believed Saafi was sincere, believed he would be burdened for life by what he’d done.

Suddenly, locking Saafi up for most of his life seemed a waste. Then two young men would be destroyed, Kagel explained later. He knew Josh wouldn’t have wanted it.

Judge Michael Wolverton called a recess. When court reconvened, Kagel asked if he could make one last statement.

He’d changed his mind, he told the judge. Please give Saafi the minimum sentence, he said.

“We do forgive you,” Kagel said to Saafi. “For reasons we don’t understand, we love you; we do.”

Saafi nodded. Behind him, his father Henry Saafi wept.

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