January 7, 2023 Editor

Prison or mercy? A Jan. 6 rioter weighs his sins and confronts his fate. (Wow!)

Eight years before he stormed the Capitol, Jake Peart acted with ‘unfathomable’ grace. A judge must decide if it matters.

Image without a captionBy

January 5, 2023

image above: Jake Peart, at his home in Hurricane, Utah, on Dec. 20, 2022. Peart was arrested for marching through the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6, 2021. (Bridget Bennett)

WN: Below are excerpts from a truly powerful story of mercy and forgiveness. May we all continue to discover their depths in our life journeys.

All I can add: Amen!


Collectively, the mob’s actions were “egregious, outrageous, dangerous,” the judge told Peart, calling them “a direct attack on the rule of law and democracy as we know it.”

But each of the insurrectionists in the Capitol that day was also an individual. And so before the judge delivered his decision, he described a letter in Peart’s case file from a woman who in 2013 was driving home drunk from a bar when she struck and killed Peart’s 28-year-old sister.

“A truly remarkable letter,” the judge called it.

We all need mercy. I need mercy as much as anybody else. That’s a major lesson I need to learn.–Jake Peart

In it, Andrea Milholm Jung described how the “mercy and love” that Peart had shown her after the accident and while she was in prison had helped her to find redemption. “Put yourself in Mr. Peart’s shoes and ask yourself if you would do the same,” she wrote to the judge. “It is a question I ask myself every single day.”

Before Jung went to jail, the Pearts wanted to meet the woman who had killed Krista. Jung broke down in sobs when she saw the Peart family seated around the large courthouse conference table. When Jung quieted, Jake Peart spoke first for his family. “We want you to move past this and have a happy life,” she recalled him saying.

Other inmates faced anger, recrimination and civil suits from those they had hurt in the commission of their crimes. Their guilt morphed into self-hatred and anger at the world. Jung received nothing but encouragement from the Peart family.

Krista’s father, Blair, wrote to Jung about a talk he gave at his church: “I told them that forgiveness was like a miracle and that it allowed the victims to be set free.”

Please click on: Prison or mercy?

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.