Current News



He befriended his brother's murderer. In each other, they found healing

Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Nearly 29 years had passed when Trino Jimenez decided to write to the man who murdered his brother, prepared to never hear back.

The killing, in South Los Angeles, had been brutal. Melvin Carroll had struck Julio Jimenez repeatedly over the head with a bumper jack during a car theft. He walked away and then panicked, returning to slit Julio Jimenez’s throat with a broken bottle.

But Jimenez, a devout Christian, was ready to forgive.

“I can never forget him, but I am not consumed about an event that can never be undone,” he told Carroll in his February 2015 letter. “God loves you and even the crime of murder is a forgivable offense.”

Within a few weeks, he received a response, setting the stage for an almost unthinkable friendship. It challenges the notion that, for the most egregious cases, victims and those who have caused harm should always be kept apart.

Nearly 10 years after Emily Dowdy was killed by a drunken driver, her mother began a friendship with the man responsible.


The relationship would change each man, launching them on respective journeys of forgiveness and remorse — a journey Jimenez has largely taken without other members of his family.

They would ultimately meet through a little-known state program that brings prisoners together with survivors and families of victims and which advocates say has the potential to help far more people heal from trauma.


Julio Jimenez, the eldest of four brothers, grew up in a Mexican family in Huntington Park. By age 24, he was working in a South L.A. warehouse supporting a 4-year-old son and a baby boy.


swipe to next page
©2021 Los Angeles Times. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.