For this crime, Israel spent 17 years in prison. But while Mary says she originally wanted only justice for the murder of her son, and viewed Israel as an “animal,” she eventually learned that what she most yearned for was the healing power of forgiveness.
Now, after meeting several times while Israel was in prision, and at Mary’s personal invitation, Israel is her next-door neighbor. He himself has begun to minister to other inmates about the power of forgiveness.
But it’s even more extraordinary than that. “Some people think I’m psychotic for doing this, but I view us as mother and son,” says Johnson. “I wear a locket-one side has a picture of me and Laramiun, the other side has Oshea. There’s no act.”