Small boy placing flower on young woman’s grave marker.
Itzel doesn’t
seek revenge

Itzel was twelve when her big sister Zuri was killed by her boyfriend. Her family chose to forgive him instead of demanding revenge. Today, they fight with Javier Stauring against demands for revenge and long sentences. 

Eddie, the boyfriend, was extremely jealous. “He had been getting counseling to control his anger better, but they had been fighting that day. They loved each other but Eddie was upset and said he was going to kill himself,” recalls Itzel.

Itzel misses her sister Zuri very much. © Joseph Rodriguez/WCPF

Late that evening, the family were all in their shared bedroom. Itzel, her parents and siblings, and Zuri’s three-year-old son and newborn daughter. Nobody could sleep. Itzel prayed with her mother that Eddie would calm down. But around midnight, there was a loud bang. All the lights went out and furniture and plaster fell all around them. Eddie had driven his car right into the house.

Itzel, far right, and her family with a photo of Zuri and the baby. © Joseph Rodriguez/WCPF

Calls for revenge

Zuri and her 14-day-old daughter died in the crash. Eddie was arrested and charged with two murders and six attempted murders. Friends and family members tried to comfort Itzel’s family. Many said, “He should die for what he did!” But Itzel didn’t want Eddie to die. Eddie’s little sister Ruby was her best friend and they were both sure that Eddie didn’t mean to hurt anyone other than himself.  “He snapped, went chaotic and wanted to die,” said Itzel. Her parents felt the same. When Eddie’s family came to ask for forgiveness, they all cried together. 

“You suffer from this tragedy, just like us,” said her father, Tomás. “Hatred and revenge don’t bring back our loved ones. It just poisons the souls of the people.”

Two mothers and their two daughters embracing.

Itzel (furthest to the right) with Eddie’s mum, her mum and Eddie’s sister, her best friend Ruby. They support one another and other families affected by loss and sorrow. They want forgiveness and hope instead of bitterness and revenge.

Testifying for Eddie

The prosecutor in the trial thought Zuri’s family should fight for as tough a sentence as possible for Eddie, maybe even the death penalty. But instead, Itzel’s parents wanted Eddie to get help in prison. Her mother said: “I feel pain every day, but it won’t help me to know that another mother will suffer, waiting for her son’s execution.”

Neither her words nor Eddie’s deep remorse helped. Javier accompanied them on the last day of the trial, and he became angry when he heard the prosecutor saying terrible things about Eddie, and criticizing the victims’ family for not wanting revenge. Both the families began to cry when they realized that nobody cared how they felt. Before the trial was over, they stood up and walked out of the courtroom. They knew already that Eddie would be sentenced to die in prison. 

Text: Carmilla Floyd
Photos: Joseph Rodriguez


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