Coming Face to Face with Your Attacker | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

Coming Face to Face with Your Attacker | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

[MUSIC] Unidentified Man #1: Alright, here we go, guys. Unidentified Man #2: Oprah’s on the way. OPRAH WINFREY: An all-new OPRAH. A mother raped and murdered. Her daughter confronts the killer for answers. When you’re sitting face-to-face with him and you’re looking him in the eye… Then this is the man that would have put six bullets in you had the gun not jammed. A hit man and the woman he tried to kill face-to-face right here. [APPLAUSE] Good to see you. Woman #1: You look nice. WINFREY: Thank you. Hi. Hello. Thank you. Thank you. OK. You’re seeing a shot of our greenroom backstage, and in the greenroom right now is Sue. Sue was shot in the stomach by a hit man hired to kill her, and in another room backstage is Dale. Dale is the hit man who was hired to kill Sue. And they are both here today and will come out together later in the show. I first read about this in my own magazine, O, and was so fascinated by this article that I called the producers and said, `You know, I think we can make a show out of this. See if we can do this on television.’ Sue and Dale are part of a revolutionary program which you are going to witness for yourself throughout this show. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen. Amy was only five years old when her mother was brutally raped and murdered, and she and her grandmother have been haunted ever since. Take a look. WINFREY: Almost 20 years ago, Cathy Lynn O’Daniel was raped and shot to death by two 15-year-old boys. LINDA: She was shot once in the leg and three times in the back of the head. They had also tried to disfigure her face apparently with a cigarette lighter. WINFREY: Even more devastating, not only was Cathy murdered that night, so was her unborn child. AMY: I remember screaming, `But Mommy’s pregnant! Mommy’s pregnant.’ WINFREY: The details surrounding Cathy’s kidnapping and murder were vague, leaving Linda and Amy to wonder what really happened that fateful night. LINDA: They both pled guilty. So there was no trial. I have never laid eyes on either one of them. Cathy was our only daughter. We had two sons. She was very vivacious, very animated. We would laugh together. ANY: She loved to dance and sing. Even when I was, like, three or four, I just remember how beautiful she was. WINFREY: Linda says not knowing the truth all these years was unbearable and eventually led them to a meeting with Gary Brown, one of the men who killed Cathy. Gary is currently serving 54 years in prison for that crime. WINFREY: Amy was just five years old when her mother, Cathy, was brutally raped and murdered by two young men. And Amy and Linda have been haunted by those unanswered questions: What really happened in those final horrific moments? The only person alive with that answer is the man who killed her. Woman #2: You ready? AMY: We’re ready. Woman #2: OK. Woman #2: Let’s go get Gary. WINFREY: You could feel the tension when Gary Brown entered the room. Linda bravely asked the man who killed her daughter the one question she’d carried with her for years. LINDA: One of the problems that we have, Gary, is that we never did have enough of what really happened to put things together. WINFREY: All they knew was that before Cathy was abducted, the last place she was seen alive was at a roadside gas station. Mr. GARY BROWN: She was always having trouble with the station wagon. Out of curiosity, she asked what was wrong. LINDA: Where were you when this was going on? Mr. BROWN: At the gas station. She was getting gas. WINFREY: Hearing that Cathy had offered a ride to the teen-age boys who would eventually kill her was almost more than they could bear. Mr. BROWN: At that time, she said, `Well, I can take you-all to Alvin if you want and bring you back up.’ And this is the honest to God truth. This part was voluntary. At that time, the gun was never pulled. There was nothing–she didn’t even know we had it. WINFREY: So Linda and Amy had been told how Cathy had ended up in the path of her killers and the chilling details that followed would be excruciating to hear starting with how he purposely led Cathy down the wrong road. Mr. BROWN: I led her down and told her where to go down a road that I knew was leading to nothing out in pasture. And then when she asked why, Marvin pulled the gun. He had the gun on her. He says, `Don’t worry about it. Just do what we’re telling you.’ WINFREY: Linda and Amy hung on to Gary’s every word as he told them about raping Cathy. He tried to explain how they never intended to kill her, but they panicked and things spiraled out of control. LINDA: Do you know why it went in the direction it went? Mr. BROWN: The thought was shooting her in the leg would give us time to get away. It was to slow her down so we could get in the car and get away and be long gone before she could tell anybody what had happened. In our minds, we felt we had no choice, you know, about this, because she’s already seen our faces. WINFREY: Then Linda and Amy learned about how brave Cathy had been up to the final moments of her life. Mr. BROWN: When she was out there and she heard me and him talking, we had realized we had already gone too far, she said, `You could take the car. You can take the money. You can take anything you want and I won’t say nothing.’ And then as Marvin pointed the gun towards her way, she said, `I forgive you and God will, too,’ and then she put her head down. And if I don’t remember anything else that night as clear as I did, it was that right there. LINDA: That was your mama, down to the very last moment of her life. WINFREY: Well, I would think that is one of the hardest things in the world to do, first of all, to hear it, but also it is–it would bring some sense of relief or closure. Is that true, Amy? AMY: It did bring a lot of relief. It brought us a lot of peace. It answered a lot of our questions. WINFREY: What had you been told about your mother’s murder? AMY: Just the facts, you know. Just the cold, hard facts ’cause she was… WINFREY: And how old were you when you were told? AMY: I was five. It was right afterwards. Pretty much right when they found out and after they could kind of put themselves together, they told me. Very up front and honest from the beginning. WINFREY: So Amy and her grandmother, Linda, finally had some of the answers at least they needed. Take a look at what happened next. It’s quite, quite surprising. Take a look. LINDA: Amy and I have been whispering. What we’ve been whispering about is we’d like Gary to have a picture of us. You can get close. You don’t have to stand back. Mr. BROWN: The ending surprised me for a couple of reasons. Yeah, it felt really good thinking here are the two people who are supposed to be hating me but they were still willing, you know, to embrace in a picture. I felt like I was hit with a baseball bat, you know, knocked in left field ’cause, I mean, that really surprised me. LINDA: Say cheese, Gary. Mr. BROWN: Cheese. WINFREY: In the end, the meeting was healing for Gary, too. Mr. BROWN: Yeah, that was definitely one of the most important days of my life. I’ve never even had anything turn out that special. I never had anything that had that much fulfillment. I do feel better about myself because I did accomplish something good. WINFREY: It gave Gary the feeling of hope and a new outlook. Mr. BROWN: As I said, I’m not fixing to do anything that’s going to make my conscience bother me anymore. And if my conscience is going to bother me, I’m not doing something right. I’m not going to make that mistake no more. And I do feel changes within me. I didn’t do all this for nothing. I can’t stop now. WINFREY: Now that surprises me and I’m sure it surprises a lot of people who are watching. Why did you want your picture with him? LINDA: First of all, we wanted him to have a picture of us. WINFREY: You wanted him. LINDA: Yeah. That was the initial idea. We wanted him to remember who we were, that it wasn’t just the state of Texas that he had done something to. WINFREY: OK. LINDA: He hurt living, breathing people, you know, Amy and Linda and my husband and my sons and all of us who loved Cathy. And so we wanted him to have a picture to remember us by, but actually there was more to it by that time for me. It was an enormously cathartic thing for me to be able to talk to him and to hear who he was, because he’d been this… WINFREY: A monster. LINDA: …a monster and a faceless person. I found the only way I could have any peace in my life was to pretend that he just didn’t exist over a period of time and… WINFREY: And so when you’re sitting face-to-face with him and you’re looking him in the eye, does that become another human being to you… WINFREY: …a person with a life that was beyond the moment of killing your daughter? LINDA: Oh, yeah. LINDA: From the moment he walked in, it was different for me. He walked in and he looked so young. Even–What was that, 15, 16 years after he killed Cathy?–he still looked like a little boy. And I thought, you know, `This little boy couldn’t have done that.’ I mean, it just was incomprehensible. And he was bawling. I expected that he would be emotional at some point. But he walked in emotional, and I wasn’t really prepared for that. So from the moment he walked in, he was not anyone I could ever look at in the same way again. WINFREY: Now it’s called restorative justice. Does it restore some healing, restore some faith? Does it… LINDA: Different things… LINDA: …for different people. LINDA: For me, it was enormously restorative and transformative, enormously so. WINFREY: Different things. WINFREY: Does it get the answer to–you know, I think for everybody who has been victimized, especially if you’ve lost a dearly beloved, you just want to know why. LINDA: You want to know why, you want to know what really happened at the same time that you don’t want to hear the details. WINFREY: Yes. Yeah. LINDA: And so, you know, we told him, `If you reach a point, Gary, where we can’t hear what you’re saying, we’ll stop you,’ but that point didn’t come because of the way he told it and his deep remorse at what happened and his deep shame. He never made excuses for himself. Not one time. Even though it’s fairly clear to us that he was not the shooter, he never, ever said anything to absolve himself of any responsibility. It was always, `We did it, I did it.’ You know, it was always… WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: That would make a difference. AMY: Yeah. LINDA: …`We did it together.’ WINFREY: That would make a difference. AMY: Absolutely. WINFREY: Yeah. And so you were changed in that moment with him or… AMY: Yeah, I really feel like… AMY: Yeah. I mean, it took a lot–any anger that I did have, you know, most of that was gone. I just felt so courageous and, you know, I just felt like I could… WINFREY: …helped benefit it. WINFREY: And proud. Were you not proud, too, of your mother and proud of your daughter that her last words were… AMY: …’cause… LINDA: Oh, absolutely. AMY: Absolutely. But in… AMY: That verified… WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: …Jesus-like. LINDA: Yeah. AMY: Yeah. WINFREY: Yeah, `I forgive you.’ AMY: …you know, the process for me. It made me feel like, `Yeah, I am doing this for the right thing.’ I always thought that I was, but when she said that, I knew that I was. WINFREY: Well… AMY: I knew that’s what she’d want me to do. WINFREY: Thank you both. Thank you, Linda and Amy. We’ll be right back. Next, she hated her daughter’s killer with a vengeance. What happened when they went face-to-face with him when we come back. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] WINFREY: So today we are witnessing the first face-to-face meetings between criminals and the families of their victims. It is called restorative justice, a revolutionary approach that is helping a number of people recover from the devastation of a violent crime. Twenty-four-year-old Nichole was driving to her grandmother’s house when tragedy struck. Take a look. WINFREY: Nichole Caturia came from a close-knit loving family and was planning on becoming a nurse, but her dreams vanished early one rainy morning. JACKIE (Nichole’s Mother): I was still in bed that morning and got a phone call from the doctor at the hospital. The doctor said my daughter, Nichole, had been in a car accident and her husband would like me to come to the hospital. When I walked in through the emergency room doors, I looked at the doctor and all he said was, `I’m so sorry.’ WINFREY: Nichole’s car was hit head-on by a large truck that was driven by 20-year-old Lee Henneman. According to official reports, Lee was speeding and lost control as he rounded a curve. JACKIE: Nikki was headed westbound. Lee was coming from the opposite direction. Her car was actually hit way down there and was pushed so hard it was airborne to land here. WINFREY: Nichole’s family was haunted by many unanswered questions in the days that followed that accident. In order to move forward, they made one of the most difficult decisions of their lives–to meet the man responsible for Nichole’s death face-to-face, but before they could meet with Lee as a family, they had to go through a series of meetings to prepare them for the painful confrontation. Woman #3: So how has it affected your life since that day? BRAD (Nichole’s Brother): I lost my oldest sister, my best friend and most the rest of my family–you know, like, everything changes. Just a half a second, all of a sudden, it’s over. Woman #3: Are you the same person you were before Nikki died? JACKIE: No. I’m more distant. I treat my husband like he doesn’t even exist. I don’t know how to describe it. Empty. WINFREY: No one hated Lee more than Nichole’s mom Jackie. JACKIE: After we buried her, I had a little tiny .22 pistol, and that gun was in my pocket with a fully loaded clip, and I would sit on that corner. I would sit in the park. I would sit in a parking lot waiting for that truck to go by. I wanted to kill him because I wanted his family to hurt as much as I was hurting because you can’t explain how bad it hurts. WINFREY: So just days ago–days–a meeting was scheduled. Jackie and her surviving children were about to go face-to-face with Lee for the first time since Nichole’s death. WINFREY: On the morning Jackie was going to meet the man who killed her daughter, she visited Nichole’s grave site. JACKIE: When I meet Lee today, I don’t really have any expectations. It’s easier being here today knowing that this is kind of one of the final days that we’ve been looking forward to. WINFREY: Finally, after years of anticipation, it was time for both sides to meet face-to-face. JACKIE: I think everybody’s heart’s going to be pound, pound, pound, pound, pound. Woman #3: Well, thank you all for coming. Man #3: Which one of you wants to start? BRIDGET (Nichole’s Sister): I can start. I don’t care. First, I want him to know that we aren’t angry with you and we don’t hate you and we’re OK with what happened. JACKIE: Nikki had a heart of gold. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s really changed my life. For months, I wanted your family to hurt the way I was hurting. In all honesty, I had a gun in my pocket 11 times and I was looking for you. JANICE (Nichole’s Grandmother): I just wanted you to know that you took my heart and soul. BRAD: I didn’t only lose one sister that day, but I lost my mom. She hasn’t been the same since. I lost my other sisters. They haven’t been the same since. WINFREY: Then it was time for Lee to answer Nichole’s mother’s most painful question. JACKIE: I have a lot of questions. Did you go to her after it happened? Did you talk to her? Did she say anything to you? Man #3: If you want to go ahead with whatever you want to say. Mr. LEE HENNEMAN: I just want to start by saying that September 8th of 2001 was the worst day of my life. I don’t know. It was raining that day and I hadn’t really had much experience with different road conditions, and I went around that corner and I hit the car. I hit Nichole’s car and I couldn’t believe what I had just done. I mean, there was nothing I could do. I felt so hopeless. WINFREY: Then Lee told Nichole’s family about her final moments. Mr. HENNEMAN: Then when I stopped, I got out of the truck as quick as I could, and I ran over to the car and she wasn’t moving. And I asked her if she was all right, but the only thing that I got–she just sighed, and I think she took her last breath of air. That was it. I just want to say I’m sorry for all the pain that I’ve caused you guys and I think every day of how much I must have hurt all of you and what I’ve taken from you. WINFREY: When we come back, Lee is here. He’s agreed to be here to tell us what it was like for him to face the mother of the young woman that he killed. We’ll be back to meet him in a moment. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] WINFREY: So you were telling us, you–on the tape, you were saying you carried the .22 in your purse, and you many times thought about killing him. JACKIE: I did. WINFREY: Yeah. And you also wanted revenge, right? BRAD: Mm-hmm. Yeah. WINFREY: You wanted to kill him. JACKIE: Yeah. WINFREY: And so what does it feel like for you carrying that kind of pain and vengeance around? Is it a weight? Feels like a weight? JACKIE: You know, at the time, it didn’t feel–I didn’t feel anything. I just wanted revenge. I wanted his family to hurt. I wanted to put them through the same kind of pain that we were going through. WINFREY: Even though it was an accident. WINFREY: It was an accident. JACKIE: Even though. WINFREY: Yeah. And you accepted that it was an accident. JACKIE: Yes. WINFREY: And he wasn’t drinking? JACKIE: No. WINFREY: Wasn’t drinking. So it was an accident. JACKIE: Right. WINFREY: All right. And you still wanted revenge. JACKIE: I still–for months, I wanted revenge. WINFREY: Well, just days ago, Lee came face-to-face with the family of the young woman he killed when his truck swerved out of control. Nichole was on her way to visit her grandmother when Lee hit her. Lee is here and he’s agreed to be here to tell us what it was like for him to face the mother of this family. Come on up here, Lee. How are you? Mr. HENNEMAN: Hi. WINFREY: Nice to meet you. Hi. So you-all have met obviously. Hello again. And so, first of all, what was that meeting like for you? Mr. HENNEMAN: It was really hard to sit there and meet this family and tell them everything that happened about–I think it was really good for all of us that we were able to do that, and I felt a lot better about myself and… WINFREY: Now had there been an–I was told that there was some incident with the tires, that you knew that the tires might be… Mr. HENNEMAN: Yeah, the–I was told by my–the owner of the truck and my boss that the tread on the tires was–it was low, and they were actually below legal limits on them. WINFREY: And this is–what kind of truck were you driving? Mr. HENNEMAN: It was a bulk milk truck. WINFREY: And so you just lost control of the truck. Mr. HENNEMAN: Yeah. HENNEMAN: Hydroplaned. WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: Yeah. And what do you want Nichole’s family to know now most of all? Mr. HENNEMAN: Just how horrible I felt after it happened and I always wanted to know what you guys thought and your feelings towards me. WINFREY: This is so interesting to me, and I guess for every family, all of you who’ve been through this. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to not to experience a tragedy like this, I never understand why people don’t talk. Why didn’t you then go to them and say, `I’m sorry,’ or ask that question or, `I want you to know how I feel’? Mr. HENNEMAN: After it happened, it was–that’s what we wanted to do. Even my parents mentioned that we should do something like that and contact them, but I was told not to contact them. WINFREY: By… Mr. HENNEMAN: By… WINFREY: Attorneys? Mr. HENNEMAN: …the attorney representing the insurance company, by, like, state troopers and they just thought that it was better not to contact them at all. WINFREY: And so did you–I don’t know. So obviously you accepted that… WINFREY: …but did you think about it a lot? Did you think about what you had done? Did you… Mr. HENNEMAN: Right. HENNEMAN: I thought about it every day. WINFREY: Every day. Do… Mr. HENNEMAN: I still think about it every day. WINFREY: Did you think it would be better–you would have felt better if you could have made some contact? Mr. HENNEMAN: Probably. It would have been a step… HENNEMAN: …towards feeling better. WINFREY: It would have been a step and what do you… WINFREY: …think would have happened had there been some contact made on his part? JACKIE: I think it would have been a little bit easier, probably not right away, though because I was just so angry. But from my understanding, they didn’t get any information on our family at all. So they didn’t know how to contact us. But I think it would have helped an awful lot had we heard something. WINFREY: Did I read this, that it was a year afterwards you didn’t even know her name… WINFREY: …or is that true? You didn’t know her name. Mr. HENNEMAN: Right. HENNEMAN: I had no idea of who it–what it was or anything about her family. WINFREY: Really. That is shocking ’cause, I mean, if that had happened, I think most peo–you would want to know who was in that car–yeah–and what happened. So how are you then told that she didn’t live? Mr. HENNEMAN: Oh, the day at the hospital, I was told that she didn’t–that she passed on, but I was never told the name or anything. WINFREY: And nobody even says, `And this was her name’? Yeah. That’s–doesn’t that make you sad and angry? JACKIE: It does, yeah. WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: Yeah. JACKIE: Yeah. JACKIE: Very mad. WINFREY: What was the meeting like for you? Did you resolve some of your anger? JACKIE: Oh, yes. I think it was the best thing that could have happened. We all went home with just a sigh of relief. We just–that dark cloud above us was gone. WINFREY: Some relief, Bridget? Yes. How so? Tell us. BRIDGET: I… WINFREY: Bridget is Nichole’s sister. BRIDGET: …pretty much assumed that he was very remorseful. I assumed that he was advised not to contact us. So part of me really was fearing that day because I wasn’t prepared just in case he wasn’t remorseful. WINFREY: Yeah. BRIDGET: So to go in there and to see the emotion and to hug him and to, you know, talk about it really was a tremendous amount of relief. WINFREY: Well, thank you all. Thanks, Lee, and thank you so much, Jackie. JACKIE: You’re welcome. WINFREY: Thank you so much, Brad. BRAD: Yeah. WINFREY: We’ll be right back. Coming up, we’ll meet Sue and the man who shot her point blank and left her for dead. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: So meet my next guest, Sue, who is beyond lucky to be here today. I don’t believe in luck, so I think something else is at work there. Her story of survival sounds like a scene right out of a movie. Take a look. WINFREY: Sue was a newly divorced mom making a fresh start for herself and her two children. SUE: It was a regular day. I was at home. My children were playing outside. A man came to the door and was looking for gardening work. So I showed him the yard. I showed him the front yard and the back yard. And I was standing about here and my son Jake was seven. He was playing up in that tree right there. WINFREY: She had no idea the man standing behind her was Dale, a hit man hired to kill her for $5,000. DALE: As she’s showing me, she’s standing in front of me, I pulled out this automatic to shoot her in the head. WINFREY: But Dale says the sound of the children playing nearby stopped him from pulling the trigger. DALE: I wasn’t going to shoot her with kids right there. So we walked back around to the front. SUE: He asked me, `Could I use your phone? I’m late for my next appointment.’ I said, `Sure.’ So I took him into the kitchen, and I let him use my phone. WINFREY: And that kind gesture had her right where her killer wanted her. WINFREY: But Sue still had no idea that she was the target of a hit man and walked right into his trap. SUE: This is where it happened. And I was facing him. I was about four feet away from him, and I picked up my bills. He was standing right here, right in this kitchen. My whole life changed. I heard a very loud noise. He shot me in the middle of my stomach. WINFREY: Sue was shot once in the stomach. The gun was supposed to shoot five more bullets but things didn’t go as planned. DALE: I went to shoot her a second time. The gun jammed. SUE: Had the gun not jammed, six bullets would have gone into me, and I would have been dead. WINFREY: While Dale was trying to get the gun to work, Sue, who was wounded and bleeding, didn’t give up. SUE: I saw the cartridge on the ground. I heard a voice in my head telling me, `You’ve been shot and you need to get out of the house.’ I got up and ran for my life. I beat him out the front door. WINFREY: As Sue’s neighbors rushed her to the hospital, Dale disappeared without a trace. SUE: The police questioned me and asked me, `Who do you think did this?’ I had no idea. I had no names to give them. WINFREY: Three months after the shooting, Dale was arrested. He was convicted of attempted murder and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Even with Dale behind bars, Sue still did not feel safe. SUE: I had nightmares for several years of people chasing me with guns. I was so scared all the time, I carried a loaded gun in my purse for about two years. WINFREY: Just when Sue thought she’d put the worst day of her life behind her, she got a phone call that would change everything. SUE: `Hi. This is a voice from the past. My name is Dale. I want to apologize for shooting you 12 years ago.’ Well, my heart stopped when I got that message. I thought I would never see him again, never have to deal with that again. WINFREY: Were you aware that the 12 years was up and that he would be getting out of prison? Were you thinking about that? SUE: He was already out of prison. He was in jail on a new offense. WINFREY: Wow! So when you hear his voice on the phone, you think what? SUE: I wondered, `Why is he calling me now? What does he want?’ My heart stopped. WINFREY: What does it feel like to be shot in the stomach? SUE: Well, you don’t want it to happen to you. Everything stops. It’s very painful, but your will to live is so strong that you’re in survival mode. WINFREY: So when you say you hear a voice in your head, is it a… SUE: I heard a voice in my head. I believe it was God’s voice telling me– it was a very calm voice and a loud voice telling me exactly what to do. `You’ve been shot. You need to get out of the house. You need to tell your neighbors where your kids are.’ WINFREY: And that’s what you did. SUE: That’s what I did. WINFREY: OK. Next, Dale, the hired killer who shot Sue in the stomach, will be here to share how meeting Sue affected him. We’ll be back. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: I hope you just saw our last segment. We were talking to Sue who has been a victim of an attempted murder. She is blessed to be here, shot point blank in the stomach by Dale, and Dale is here. Dale, come on up here. How are you? Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you. You-all have obviously met before. WINFREY: And it’s–met before. I say you can forgive anything, if you can forgive this. So the restorative justice program brought the two of you together. And what was that like to come face-to-face how many years later with the man who had tried to kill you? SUE: We had the restorative justice meeting 16 years after the shooting. It was four years after he first called me to apologize. We had four meetings in the summer of 2002. I knew it was divinely guided, and I felt it was very important to go and to participate for the healing that was necessary for the whole family, and as it turned out, for Dale’s family as well. WINFREY: You mean for your whole family. SUE: My whole family and then what I learned was Dale’s family was healed as well from the restorative justice meetings. WINFREY: How do you tell your mother, Dale, that you are–or have been a hired assassin? DALE: Well, for 16 years, my mother didn’t know. WINFREY: She did not know. DALE: She didn’t know. WINFREY: You’re in jail. DALE: I did the time. My mother didn’t think I did it, thought I was framed, and I denied it the whole time. It took our meetings together and the healing that we had done for me to tell my mother the truth because I had to tell her… WINFREY: So, no, that’s really the question I would like, if you can answer it. Now what do you then do, say `Mom, all these years, I’ve been lying. I did do it’? DALE: Basically… DALE: …and I told her, I said, `Well, I have to tell you the bad news in order to tell you the good news. The bad news being, yes, I lied to you all these years and that I actually was the one who shot Sue,’ and then to tell her the good news, what we were doing, that Sue and I were on very friendly terms, we’re working together… WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: You would call them friendly? Would you say it’s friendly? SUE: It is friendly. We have a relationship based on a traumatic incident, but we went through a healing process that is very intimate. WINFREY: This is the man that would have put six bullets in you had the gun not jammed. SUE: Yes. WINFREY: Yeah. And you probably wouldn’t be here to tell this story. SUE: Correct. WINFREY: And so how do you get from obviously a lot of anger, fear, all of that, to friendly? We’ll talk about that when we come back… SUE: All right. WINFREY: …OK? We’ll be right back. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: So the first encounter you have with him, the man who tried to kill you, who put a bullet in you and would have put six more, you say what? What did you want to know? SUE: Well, I started crying the first restorative justice meeting that we had, and what I didn’t realize, what I learned later, was that I had been retraumatized by seeing him out of custody, just in public. WINFREY: Free. SUE: Free. And I thought I was healed, and I wasn’t. WINFREY: Oh, real–yeah. SUE: And so we sat down with members of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department who were the mediators, and we each told our stories to each other. And it was healing. WINFREY: Did you–because I know this just from my experience going to prisons, you start to see the prisoners as human beings, as people, and not just their crime. Did that happen to you? SUE: Absolutely. Yes. He was a human being with a family and a life, and he was only 23 years old at the time that the incident happened. WINFREY: And what did you see and feel? DALE: There was a lot of emotions. One, Sue had forgiven me, which probably took a weight off my shoulders and helped me to forgive myself for what I had done ’cause I lived years with the guilt, the shame of what I’d done. And I felt anger, not for myself–at the first meeting, I felt anger from her sister ’cause she was sitting across from me. I could feel the anger, and we discussed it. And I told her, `I understand it. I wouldn’t expect anything else,’ but we went through a lot of different emotions. WINFREY: Right. Sue and Dale speak at prisons now to help other inmates realize the full impact that their crimes have on not just the person they commit the crime against but on the entire family, and here is how some of the prisoners reacted to hearing their story. ISAIAH: My name is Isaiah and I’m here for assault. What I’ve learned is that people really don’t want an `I’m sorry.’ What they really want is actions. What they really want is they want to see you go out and do things that indicate that you’re really sorry. You do this by staying drug and alcohol free. You do this by being a respectable member of society. It comes down to the fact that I’m going to have to pay for certain crimes. JESSE: My name is Jesse and I’m incarcerated this time for assault. I assaulted my victim twice. If I was face-to-face to my victim, I would want her to know that I’m very sorry for what I did and that I am changing. Every day that I wake up, I’m accountable for what I did. Every day. KENT: My name’s Kent. I’m here–I assaulted a woman. Every time I sit through a survivor impact group, it knocks away part of this wall that I’ve built in myself. If I was face-to-face with my victim, I would pose the question of how my violence changed your life. I would tell them how sorry I really am, how horrible I feel that they have to go through every day of their life being afraid, and I made them feel that way. WINFREY: So when–these are people who’ve heard the two of you. Is it common that men in prison–and I speak about men particularly because you are a man, you can address that–aren’t even aware of what they’ve done to their victims? DALE: You’re aware in one sense, but then you usually don’t think about it. WINFREY: Yeah. DALE: You build–like the guy just mentioned about the wall you build. WINFREY: Yeah. DALE: After I shot Sue, I went to prison for a 12-year sentence, and I stuffed everything inside. You know, it never left my thoughts of what I’d done, the guilt of it, but you have your role to play in prison, so I didn’t think about it. I just tried not to think about it. WINFREY: So after you shot Sue, she ran out of the house, you knew that you had not been successful… WINFREY: …and so you never thought a moment about what this would do to her children, whether or not she would be disabled, how she would live in fear. You didn’t think anything about that. DALE: Not really, no. DALE: At the time when I shot her, I was a drug user and I used a lot. And an addict thinks about themselves, and that’s it. You’re not thinking about who else is being affected by it. WINFREY: No. WINFREY: Next, if you have been the victim of a violent crime, how to tell if coming face-to-face with the offender is right for you. We’ll be back to talk about that, ’cause it’s not right for everybody. MUSIC MUSIC WINFREY: I want to introduce you to Sunny Schwartz. Sunny is an attorney who heads up the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project for the San Francisco County Sheriff’s Department. And this is really quite amazing. How do you know if this is right for you? Ms. SUNNY SCHWARTZ (Attorney): It really–there’s no formula. There–it really needs to be on a case-by-case basis. It’s important for people to know they don’t have to go through this. It’s important to take the lead of the survivor, the victim, ’cause oftentimes a victim is treated like chattel to begin with and it’s time to put voice and dignity back to her life or his life. So we take the lead from the victim by providing them direct services, emotional, practical support, and it’s a process. It’s a very long process, and, again, it’s important for every program to be victim-driven. WINFREY: OK. And have you found that regardless of how it turns out, though, that the victims do benefit or the families benefit in some way? Ms. SCHWARTZ: I don’t know a family that has not benefitted from looking face-to-face with the perpetrator of their lost loved ones or themselves because it goes along–it speaks volumes to be told, `You didn’t deserve that. I am sorry. My God, what did I do?’ Now that’s not the end-all. That’s just the beginning. Offender accountability is critical here, and that’s what our prog–that’s the backbone also of our program. And, unfortunately, the criminal justice system does not lend itself to introspection and human beings. WINFREY: Yeah. Well, I mean, as we’re hearing here, the criminal justice system doesn’t even lend itself to you making an apology because if you apologize, then the insurance companies and the attorneys… Ms. SCHWARTZ: Exactly. WINFREY: …are saying, `That’s admitting guilt,’ and so you just say nothing, and it just gets worse on both sides. Ms. SCHWARTZ: Oprah, it’s shameful. And I’m a member of the criminal justice system. And I say this with enormous frankness. It is a call to action for us to do something different, for everyone’s sake. We have been locking people up for 150 years. Crime is continuing. We spend billions of dollars, and we–and everyone, virtually everyone, I should say, is getting out into your community and my community. So what we’re about in San Francisco, at least beginning, is to start giving the tools to the offenders, holding that mirror up and say, `Look what you have done,’ providing jobs, education, recovery programs, because they’re all–again, it’s important to say they’re all getting–90 percent of the people incarcerated are getting released. WINFREY: OK. Thank you so much. We’ll be right back. That’s good, Sunny. WINFREY: I’d like to say thank you to all of my guests today and especially to the San Francisco County Jail No. 7 for letting us come in and bring our cameras. Thank you all. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC]

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  1. This made me upset. I wouldn’t bother to talk to him. I wouldn’t even look at him. I’m disgusted with him. 🤦🏻‍♀️😡

  2. As a social worker turned writer, I applaud what they call Retroactive Justice, and I'm sure it's beneficial to those who truly need and want it, but I would be very selective in the prisoners I would allow to participate. Psychopaths and serial killers are entitled to forgiveness too, according to Christ, but they also glory in their crimes, love the attention, can't feel real remorse, and would love to re-victimize this way, so I'm not sure this would work with them. I am sure that a lot of preparation goes into these meetings, but in some cases, perhaps letters, video calls, phone calls, or something besides face to face would work. On a different note, Oprah's classic episodes are as relevant and intriguing as they were when they were first aired. They seem so fresh and important. Please keep giving us these treasures, Oprah.

  3. Dr. John Gunnell, birth name John Carey Merrick, has conspired with Oprah Winfrey to deny Liv Alexander the Best Actress Oscar for the RED QUEEN. And the bastards and whores who are preventing my wife Liv Alexander from getting the Oscar for the Red Queen, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping — Vic Alexander, son of the richest man in Hollywood and the first CIA Director Nimrud Alexander since 1906. Though he may be gone, I will never let his enemies get the best of me.

  4. Regarding the man that shot the woman in the stomach for 5,000.00, it wasn't even mentioned why and especially who hired him to commit such a dispicable crime. For the families who have been through the devastation and still are willing to meet with the perpetrator is an amazing moment, I ask myself could I have done it. Thank you Oprah for a rewind we should not forget.

  5. This is how we know we are one. We experience an other's pain as our own. Blessings to us all on this healing journey.

  6. I'm so curious about the person who hired Wade to kill sue. Who was he and what happened to them? I wish they would have touched on that.

  7. This is some strategic psychological stuff by posting this especially since the whole Botham killing in his house by the cops..Im all for forgiveness but this is too far. Im not there yet

  8. I miss the Oprah show. No talk show host today is doing what Oprah used to do…tell real stories, good AND bad, about people. Talk shows have been totally dumbed down for viewers today. Oprah talked about the challenges of life and her shows really made you think!

  9. So oprah is just gonna leave us hangin' and not mention ANYTHING about the identity of the person was hired the hitman?!?! wtf!!

  10. Oprah is a great interviewer if there wasn’t a reason she couldn’t speak about the person who hired the hitman she would’ve asked, I’m assuming the reason none of them mentioned who was behind Sue’s setup is because legal or safety reasons. Maybe one or all of their lawyers said not too idk… it makes me wanna know now

  11. Restorative justice meetings??? And y is this man not still in jail??? He had the gaw to want to do these type of crimes he should be in jail that’s a serial killer mentality. So I’m sure for the right amount of money he’ll do it again! Considering that’s what triggered him the first time!

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