Faith and Forgiveness: A Father's Journey

Kent described the first time he saw Bart since he had become a fugitive.

"So I walk in this room ... with the bullet-proof glass between us, and there's Bart," Kent said. "And he looks, physically, he looks good. And he and I look at each other for a minute and say, you know, oh, how are you? And he said, 'Dad, I'm so sorry. This is all my fault. And I don't know why. But I'm going to do everything I can to make this as fast and painless for everyone as possible.' And it was at that point I realized he was saying, 'I did it, I'm sorry, I want to confess.'"

Father's Lesson: Forgiveness Is Not Easy

For Kent, the biggest hurdle to overcome was determining what motivated his son to commit the murders.

"This is the most important thing in my life, knowing why this happened," he said "And he and I wrestled with this for a long time. And based on things that we picked up in letters and in conversations, the short deal is that he never could accept the love that Trish and I gave him.

"He always felt empty inside. He didn't know what emotions felt like. And he hated it...he felt that there was something wrong with him, that he was defective. He started building these masks to try to hide the fact that he was -- that he was broken."

Over time, Kent says that he was able to heal because he was able to forgive.

"The important thing about forgiveness is that it's not easy, but it just promises that when you get to the other side of all this, then you can find happiness and joy, and that there is a restoration of life. And that's what I wanted. I wanted that from the start."

Kent says he decided to go public with his ordeal and write a book about his journey because he "became convinced that this story of forgiveness was something that God wanted people to hear. And that I was such an unbelievable example of the act of forgiveness.

"I prayed about it and I believe that Tricia and Kevin both would've said, 'there are kids out there just like Bart who don't know who they are, who feel like they're empty, and, while they aren't going to go out and kill their parents, there is going to be an emptiness in their lives...that can be resolved if they will come forward and talk about it.'"

To this day, Kent remains steadfast in his support of Bart, saying that his son is a changed man now and doesn't deserve to die.

"He changed. He's a different person and now he's going to go to Heaven, which wasn't going to happen before. So from a faith standpoint, if you're ever able to look at life through the lenses of eternity instead of just what you see around here in the physical world...you'll realize that there are things that happen down here that appear to be awful that aren't in the long run."

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