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After forgiving her, son fights to free mother who had his father killed

forgiveness on Family

http://www.mercurynews.com - NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Nearly three decades after the murder that tore them apart, the mother and son talk easily now. They laugh over little things. She stands on tiptoes to hug him and whispers: "I love you." He smiles and hugs her back.



They often meet for lunch at the nonprofit where Gaile Owens works. On this day, she and Stephen sit side by side in a conference room, one glancing at the other as they answer a reporter's questions about their tangled past. About the killing of Stephen's father and Gaile's years on death row for her role in the crime. About Stephen's burden of resentment and anger and, finally, his decision to move past it all.



They don't want to dwell on the past. She says it can't be changed. He adds that you can't absolve someone and then keep rehashing the things they have done to hurt you. For Stephen, now 40 years old, it took much of his adult life to get to this point.



The decision to forgive, Stephen says, "opened a life for me that I would have never had."

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