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Amish school shooter's kin: Horror, then healing

By Michael Rubinkam

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Dec. 9 2013 8:55 a.m. MST

His mother first shared her story nine months after the Oct. 2, 2006, slayings at West Nickel Mines Amish School, when a friend from work asked her to speak to some Japanese exchange students. The message resonated, and Roberts said she felt a calling from God.

Roberts remains close with Charlie Roberts' wife, Marie Monville, who is also breaking her silence with a book, "One Light Still Shines," which shares a similar message of hope amid despair. Like her former mother-in-law, Monville has relied on her Christian faith to carry her through the worst time in her life.

"The message of the book is that it doesn't matter how dark the day is, the love of the Lord continues, and he is capable of writing a redemption story over our lives even in those dark places," said Monville, who has since remarried.

She said God has given her "healing and freedom from the weight of Charlie's choices and from the words, 'the shooter's wife,' that tried to define who I was."

The Amish were celebrated for how they responded to the massacre. Yet forgiveness doesn't always come easily or automatically, even for this Christian sect whose members are known for their plain dress and simple ways.

Rosanna King's father, Christ King, said the Amish are like anyone else, with the same frailties and emotions.

"We hope that we have forgiven, but there actually are times that we struggle with that, and I have to ask myself, 'Have I really forgiven?'" King said.

"We have a lot of work to do to live up to what we are bragged up to be," he continued. "Everyone was talking about this forgiveness thing, and I felt that was putting a lot of weight on our shoulders to live up to that."

Rosanna wasn't expected to survive after being shot in the head. She laughs, cries and responds to stimuli, and King said she is mentally alert. But she requires constant care.

Terri Roberts' weekly visits with Rosanna force her to confront the damage her son caused. But Roberts also finds peace as she spends time with Rosanna and provides some relief to the teen's family, if only for a few hours.

"Beautiful young woman, but life is not as it should've been for this little girl. So my mind will never forget the hardship that day has caused in many people's lives," Roberts said.

"And yet," she said, "none of us needs to live in the saddest part of our lives 24/7."

Documentary trailer: http://bit.ly/1bjgo0h

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