Fourteen-year-old Jeff Mitchell was Glen Mitchell’s first born son. On November 4, 1993, Jeff was killed by a group of teens that included 16-year-old Ellis Curry.
The teens were arrested and charged in Jeff’s death. The two youngest boys, one of whom was Ellis, pled guilty. Prior to their sentencing, Glen and his wife, Margaret, asked to interview the two youngest offenders in order make a recommendation for sentencing.. Ellis immediately showed remorse for what had happened. That led the Mitchells to recommend leniency for him. Ellis was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Although Glen did not forgive Ellis initially, he remained curious about how he was doing in prison and what type of adult he had become.
After he was released, Glen contacted Ellis’ probation officer and arranged a meeting. At that meeting, Ellis described growing up without a father but with a loving and very permissive mother. The two began working together, giving public presentations about ending violence.
In 2010, while Glen was preparing for a presentation at a program, Ellis, who was also a speaker, walked in. At that moment, Glen realized that, at some point along the way, he had forgiven Ellis. Glen recalls that reaching that point was a big step for him and that he believes Jeff would have wanted him to forgive Ellis.
Glen and Ellis have remained in contact and speak together regularly. Glen says Ellis is unquestionably a productive member of society, and he firmly believes that he and his wife did the right thing in asking for leniency. “If you take away their hope, they are lost forever,” says Glen.