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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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