Woman Asks State To Parole Man Who Murdered Her Son 15 Years Ago

Afriquah Imani: 'Forgiveness Is Not For The Other Person — It Is For You'


A Milwaukee woman is asking the state to parole the man who murdered her son 15 years ago.

It’s rare for the mother of a murder victim to sit down face to face with the man who killed her son, but that’s what Afriquah Imani did three years ago. She had spent the previous 11 years since her son’s death hating Gabriel Smith, but she decided she wanted to give him a chance to apologize for shooting her son in the back of the head with a sawed-off shot gun.

“There were times I just wanted to reach across the table and choke him, I really did,” said Imani. “Sometimes people don’t understand that forgiveness is not for the other person – it is for you. Otherwise, if you are unable to forgive, something will consume you and put a black hole on your heart.“

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Eventually, Smith apologized. He goes before the parole board next month and Imani is urging the board grant to his release. But she said this will be the second time she’s made the request and she doesn’t think her change of heart will have much impact on the final decision.

“I think that a person has more influence on wanting to keep a person locked up than they do wanting to see a person released,” said Imani.

Imani says she’d like to see the parole board do a better job of explaining both to victims and offenders how they reach a decision to either grant or deny parole.