Would you forgive the man who murdered your daughter?
In April 2010, 19-year-old Ann Grosmaire died at Talahassee Memorial Hospital after her longtime boyfriend Conor McBride shot her during an argument.
Ann's parents, Kate and Andy Grosmaire, requested a more lenient verdict for their daughter's killer, getting his life sentence down to 20 years. And they've spoken to him since, advising him for his future, suggesting he try to get married and start a family.
They have forgiven him. Kate wrote a book about it titled Forgiving My Daughter's Killer.
In it, Kate writes a lot about Ann and Conor's relationship. Conor says a lot of the contents were a wake up call.
Conor and Ann had discussed marriage but the Grosmaires knew the young couple were not ready. They struggled with how to guide them. In the book, Kate tells about a moment when Andy asked Ann, "Does being with Conor make you a better person?"
There was a long moment of silence before Ann burst into tears. She never answered.
"That," Conor tells the Talahassee Democrat, "was a reminder of how much harm and hurt I caused Ann even before I killed her."
But the real wake up call for him was the Grosmaires' decision to forgive him, and forgive him long before he could begin to forgive himself.
"Their choice to respond with love, it's not normal," Conor says.
It wasn't normal. Before Ann was even taken off life support Kate went to visit Conor in prison. As she recalls in an article for Good Housekeeping, he wept as he told her, "I am so, so sorry".
"Conor, Mr Grosmaire wants me to tell you that he loves you and forgives you," Kate said. "You know I love you. And I forgive you."
"I really felt like my daughter was joined with Christ, and that He and her were asking me to forgive," she later tells The Daily Mail.
"And I just had never said no before to them, so I wasn't going to say no this time.
"It was just an uplifting of joy and peace."
Conor recognized that. "It had to be the love of God shining through them," he says of the Grosmaire's decision. "Realizing that love and how undeserving I was made me realize there was a God."
Still, it took Conor time before he was able to move past the shame that plagued him after what he did. He says there were times he felt he could not bear it. He had to learn that, while it will never be okay, with time he will be okay with it not being okay.
"It obviously isn't okay," he says. "I've hurt countless people because of what I did, and yet, I have to be okay with it so I can proceed forward positively and make some kind of good come out of this.
"It doesn't seem like I should be forgiven," Conor continues, "but yet, the Grosmaires have obviously forgiven me.
"If they can forgive me, I can start to forgive myself, and then I realized what not forgiving myself would do. It would leave me trapped there, leave me stuck with all that guilt and shame. I'm still guilty, but I'm not beating myself up over it."
Conor works as a law clerk in the prison's library and is working towards an associate's degree in arts and humanities through Ohio University.
He will be 39 when he gets out. His goals for the future include community service, animal rescue (which was Ann's passion), and a job.
He always wanted to be a husband and father but now doubts whether that is possible.
"How would you explain that," he says. "You know, 'So what happened to your last girlfriend?' Well..."
Kate once told Conor he should live a life worth two lives, and she says that seems to have stuck with him.
"I am absolutely guilty of killing Ann. I owe her parents a responsibility. I owe the community a responsibility to try to give back. I can't replace that life I took, but I do owe the community to try to make at least something positive."•