Family Finds Peace Through Restorative Justice

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Tallahassee, FL-January 4, 2013

Ann Grosmaire was a bright and vibrant 19-year-old. She was involved in the local theater while completing her studies at Tallahassee Community College and was deeply in love with her fiancé Conor McBride.

"She had an incredible depth to her. She was wonderful friend to everyone who knew her," says Ann's mother, Kate Grosmaire.

But in 2010, Ann's seemingly bright future went dark. McBride shot and killed Ann during an argument.

But instead of pushing for the death penalty or a life sentence, the Grosmaires chose a different path called Restorative Justice.

A path they say allows them to heal as they still meet with daughter's killer once a month behind bars. He's serving a 20-year sentence.

"By being able able to forgive, by having the Restorative Justice Circle. By having a voice in it, we can process everything and then move on," says Kate.

Restorative Justice is where the victims and their attackers meet face-to-face to discuss what happened, how they feel and to come to a consensus on a punishment. It's a process usually reserved for smaller crimes, not murder.

"It gives a sense of peace. It's very difficult but it gave me a big sense of peace. I know what happened to my daughter, exactly what happened and it provided a sense of peace," says Ann's father, Andrew.

Now the family has established the Ann Grosmaire Be The Change Fund.

They say the fund will help keep their daughter's memory alive by helping others experience restorative justice in theirs. The found is done through a partnership with The Community Foundation of North Florida.

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