Shooting victim campaigns for attacker
A Florida inmate sentenced to 65 years for attempted murder has an unlikely advocate: the woman he tried to kill.
In 1990, then 13-year-old Ian Manuel shot 25-year-old Debbie Baigrie in the face during a robbery. Ian was sent to an adult prison and the mother of two spent several years undergoing facial reconstructive surgery.
Twenty-one years later, Debbie still has a bullet shrapnel in her mouth and a scar, but her attacker is now her friend.
Two years after Ian was put behind bars, he sent her a card with a picture of a hand reaching through prison bars offering a red rose. Since then the two have exchanged letters. In one Ian told her "You are about one in a million who would write to a person that's tried to take their life."
Ian is scheduled to be released from prison in 2031, but Debbie is campaigning for an early release. She told the New York Times she feel sympathetic toward him because, "When you're 13, you do stupid stuff. Walk a mile in his shoes."
The article also explains Ian's troubled childhood led to an early life of crime. By the time of the shooting, he'd been arrested 16 times. In a Facebook post, Debbie writes, "Had Ian been raised in my house he could be an attorney defending kids like him... Say what you want...but first walk in our shoes."
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