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Father of Fire Victim Supports Janet Danahey's Petition of Clemency

9:52 AM, Jul 23, 2012   |    comments
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A college girl plays a prank on an ex. The prank turns tragic. An apartment building in Greensboro burns to the ground, killing four people.

One of those four people was Beth Harris.

After ten years in prison, serving a life without parole sentence, the woman who set the blaze wants clemency.

Bob Harris is supporting Janet Danahey's request for freedom. Bob Harris is Beth Harris' father.

"I can remember going down to the parking lot finding...I remember going into the parking lot and finding her car and it's just, you wonder why, You wonder how it could have happened. You call tell, it hits as bad today as it did ten years ago," explains Harris.

"So now the pain is never going to go away...I can still feel my arms around her. I can still feel her holding on. And it was unusual for Beth to hold on that long in a hug and I've said it several times before and it's almost like we instinctively knew this was the last time we'd have," Harris says as he remembers his last moments with his daughter. "To have that one last really long hug, I hope my memory never fails me on that."

"It can't really be separated when I think of what could have been, what Beth would have been able to do. Yeah, Janet comes to mind and Janet who is deprived me of that. Deprived Beth of that, deprived the world of what she could do. But, it doesn't diminish my forgiveness of Janet."

"She did tell me, she held her hands out and said, 'these are the hands that are responsible for your daughter's death.' That I needed to hear," said Harris on his meeting with Danahey in prison.

"Some people would probably look at me now and say, 'if it's still so painful, how can you forgive Janet? And not only forgive Janet but support her request for clemency?'"

"Is 10 years enough? I don't know. Is 20 years enough? I don't know. Is 30 years enough? I don't know."

"I do have a choice, either to forgive her or hate her. If I hate her, I have to answer to God. That I accept, that is what drives me, that and what I believe and that is what I will go to my grave with. Beth would understand that too. So, supporting Janet's clemency request, forgiving her, Beth would understand and Beth would support me, I know," explains Harris.

Harris is the only one of the four victims' parents who is supporting Danahey's petition of clemency.

Governor Bev Perdue has received the petition but has made no decision.

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