While Evans was inside, three teens drove by and sprayed more than a dozen shots at the house and car. One struck Casson in the head. It was later determined that Johnson fired the fatal shot.

Beyond a sheer willingness to participate in restorative justice, the offender has to meet a three-part test for acceptance based on demonstrating accountability, genuine remorse and willingness to repair harm. Johnson met all the criteria, though on the last count the only reparations he could offer were honest answers to a mother's unanswered questions.

....Whatever impact the meeting has had on Johnson, the public won't know for a while, if ever. The DOC has declined requests to interview him pending conclusion of the process, which includes debriefing of all parties and assessment of the outcome — something that may take until the end of the month.

From initiation to completion, every aspect of the sequence remains victim-driven.

"This is not a short process," said DOC spokeswoman Katherine Sanguinetti. "We don't want this to be a venue for the offenders. This is about the victim, for the victim."

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