In an unusual case of forgiveness Thursday, the parents of a New Hampshire man who was shot dead in December 2011 lobbied to help free their son's killer from prison and offered to give him a home and a job on his release.
The circumstances under which Deborah and Donald St. Laurent lost their son, also named Donald St. Laurent, 29, were unusual, according to WMUR. His killer, Christopher Bazar, 29, was his best friend right up to the point when he took his last breath. And the St. Laurent family had lobbied for leniency when he was sentenced to four to 10 years in prison for manslaughter in 2012.
On Thursday, Deborah St. Laurent gave Bazar a tearful hug after he was granted parole.
"I'm happy. I'm glad he's coming home," Deborah said while smiling.
"I think he's done his time. I think it's something that he's gonna have to live with for the rest of his life. I also believe that people deserve a second chance," added Mr. St. Laurent.
"It's just the end of a long road and the beginning of a new one. It's a good day. It's a great day," Bazar said of his new found freedom.
In 2012, Bazar told the court that his friend's death in the home they shared in Hudson, New Hampshire, on Dec. 2, 2011, was an accident that occurred after he had several beers and smoked marijuana. And he was ready to face whatever punishment required of him.
The St. Laurent family, however, didn't want him punished more than he had already been punished by the death of his friend.
"He loved Chris like a brother, and I know, I know this was an accident," Deborah St. Laurent had told the court in asking for leniency.
"We didn't want Chris to go away for a long time because Chris is like family, and it's almost like losing two sons now," Donald St. Laurent had explained.
Donald St. Laurent had noted that both his son and Bazar may have been drinking at the time of his son's death.
And according to the victim's brother, Sgt. Daniel St. Laurent who was in Afghanistan at the time his brother was killed, Bazar will not heal from what happened.
"Killing your best friend is more of a punishment than the state of New Hampshire or anybody could ever give anybody, and I don't want to lose another brother," he said.