This is a guest post from my friend Jeremy Affeldt.
One of the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen was during the sentencing of the Green River Killer. Remember him? He killed dozens of women in Washington State, and they caught him using DNA evidence. As part of a plea bargain he provided details on a lot of his murders in exchange for life in prison instead of the death penalty.
We watched the sentencing phase on TV, when the families of the victims were given an opportunity to confront him. We sat there watching all these families go up to speak to him. One woman said, “You know, after you killed my daughter, you put a door over her face. You covered her body with a door. So they couldn’t find her. You know, when that prison door slams in your face, I hope you rot.”
And the killer just sat there, showing no emotion. He just looked at her. You know, it was like he was dead inside. He had nothing.
Family after family came up, sharing just how angry they were with this guy. And these people were devastated. They had aged. They told him things like, “You know what, you’ve ruined my family. I’ve gotten divorced over this. You’ve ruined my marriage. My kids are ruined.” And they were just blaming him, and blaming him, and blaming him, and blaming him, right? For everything. And there’s some truth to it!
And throughout the whole thing, the television cameras would show us this guy, and he had no emotion whatsoever. He’s a serial killer. He has no emotion.
Until this one guy gets up. He was probably fifty, maybe sixty years old. He was clean cut, with a neatly-trimmed white beard, dressed nicely, and just a good countenance about him. This man sat down, looked at the Green River Killer, and he said, “You killed my daughter. And I forgive you.”
He said that! “I forgive you.”
He went on to say, “And I think my God forgives you. And I wanted to tell you that before you go to jail – because you’re going to go to jail for what you did. I want you to know that I have forgiven you for what you have done. And I hope you understand that the reason I can forgive you is because of how big my God is. And I hope you meet my God.”
The cameras panned back to this serial killer. He started weeping. His whole body was just wracked with tears.
I was almost ready to tear up. I looked at my wife and I said, “That was the most amazing thing I have ever seen.”