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SPEEDWAY, Ind.–Ten years ago Mario Gonzalez-Tellos was shot and killed when he tried to stop a 16-year-old kid from holding up a woman in a parking lot. His son Aldo forgave the man who did it during the trial. But, for the first time in Indiana, Aldo and his brother were able to visit Dominique Staten in prison.

The Dept. of Corrections only allowed the two to visit their father’s killer after a lot of convincing that they weren’t going to attack him, and a lot of security checks.

“We had forgiven him at the trial”

“We had forgiven him at the trial. But, forgiveness is a strange thing. It’s not like you can just wake up one day and say I’m gonna forgive somebody and it’s over. Forgiveness is a process,” said Gonzalez.

We met Aldo at a restaurant in Speedway, where his dad lived all his life. But, it was at his favorite restaurant on 38th St., where Mario Gonzalez-Tellos tried to stop a hold-up. That got him killed.

“He noticed somebody was holding a lady at gunpoint, robbing her. So, he…pulled his gun and said something to the kid like, hey you. The kid got nervous, turned and shot at Dad.”


Brought together

He was brought together with his dad’s killer by a documentary film crew, who filmed it for a show that will air on CNN next year. It’s an eight part show about forgiveness, and Gonzalez’s story might be one of the finest examples: Forgiveness for murder.

When the Gonzalez brothers first saw Staten in prison, at Wabash Correctional, they were surprised. He was clean cut and straight-laced, not what they had expected.

“I was shocked. He was very respectful. It blew my mind. It made me so happy.”

Finding answers

Gonzales said he and his brother cried for five minutes, and then asked Staten about the shooting.

“We never knew some things that happened. Only Dominique knew those things.”

Gonzalez said he intends to keep in touch with Staten. He wants to make sure he’s getting all of the certifications and skills he can while in prison so that he can have a chance for a life when he gets out. The first chance for that is over 30 years from now.

“We don’t hate him. We’d love to have our dad back. But, we don’t hate him. Our wish is that he would be a better man than he was ten years ago, that he would think of Dad often.”

And Staten does. He even keeps a picture of the man he killed, and has promised to keep in touch with the men who have found it in their hearts to champion forgiveness, even for murder.

PHOTO: Marion Co Booking