It was just after midnight on Feb. 25, 1983. Morris Ostler, the owner of a Provo laundromat, was trying to repair a broken washing machine when a man came in to ask for directions.
The two men chatted for about 15 minutes before the stranger left. Twenty minutes later he returned to ask about an address.When Ostler turned to get a phone book, the man shot him in the back. Ostler fell to the ground, a bullet lodged next to his spine. Ostler rolled over and tried to kick the man, but he couldn't move his left leg.
The gunman pointed the gun at Ostler and fired a bullet into his face. When Ostler yelled, the assailant fired a second shot from near point-blank range. The bullet tore off the left side of Ostler's face.
Miraculously, Ostler survived. Louis P. Malek, a convicted killer on parole, was later convicted of aggravated robbery and attempted first-degree murder in the shooting.
Thursday, Ostler confronted his would-be killer during a Board of Pardons hearing. He told the board he has no animosity for the man who three times tried to kill him.
"I'll be the first on the list to help Louis get out of this place," said Ostler, who survived months of rehabilitation. "I think Louis has great, great potential."
Malek was visibly surprised at the testimony, turning in his seat to quietly whisper his thanks to Ostler.
The Board of Pardons scheduled a July 1995 rehearing to determine a new parole date for Malek.
"You are a very dangerous man," said board member Gary Webster. "You have a very difficult time abiding by the most basic rules."
The board cited Malek's alcohol and drug abuse as the root of his problems, and promised that Malek will not be released until he addresses those problems.
"For all intents and purposes, this should have been a capital murder," said board member Paul Boyden. "You are lucky. But it still appears you are unable to control yourself."