Grieving Mom Forgives Her Daughter's Killer, Helps Him Get Lighter Sentence
06/12/2014 AT 05:45 PM EDT
Her daughter Lourdes, 13, died after a classmate accidentally shot her while showing off his stepfather's gun on their school bus.
Instead of holding onto her anger, she not only forgave her daughter's killer, she pushed for a lighter sentence for him, which resulted in a plea deal he accepted in a Florida courtroom on Tuesday.
"I'm just sorry for her loss and I apologize for doing what I did," the defendant, Jordyn Howe, 16, told the judge, according to The Miami Herald, as Guzman-DeJesus hugged him.
Howe will serve one year in a juvenile detention facility – instead of the harsher punishment the judge wanted – while also touring the state with Guzman-DeJesus, talking to students about the dangers of guns.
The judge was equally moved by Guzman-DeJesus' extraordinary gesture of forgiveness.
"In 20 years, I've watched human tragedy unfold in this courtroom,” Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ellen Sue Venzer said. "I could have never imagined a victim’s mother embracing her child’s killer."
Guzman-DeJesus told reporters that she believes this is what her daughter would have wanted her to do.
"Justice is already done," Guzman-DeJesus said. "I really do forgive him."