Minneapolis woman’s story of forgiveness becomes a love story

Ed Roy, 63, and Mary Johnson-Roy, 64, were married in 2015. Both had sons die. “I’m grateful to have someone there that has experienced the same thing I have,” Mary tells Ed at StoryCorps in Minneapolis. Courtesy of Brian Mogren

NPR’s StoryCorps provides a warm update to the journey of Mary Johnson, the Minneapolis woman whose son was murdered by Oshea Israel in 1992, and who came to forgive him — and become friends with him — after visiting him in Stillwater prison.

Since then, Johnson has been telling her story in local churches. That’s how she met Ed Roy, whose son was also murdered.

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“I thought God took my boy and was punishing me for my own crimes. I had joined the gangs early and pulled my first armed robbery at 11 years old. With you being there, I saw hope. You took me under your wing. That’s why I called you my angel,” he tells Mary in today’s episode.

They fell in love. They got married in 2015. Oshea was a groomsman.

“He is my spiritual son,” Mary says.

For more information: From Death to Life