Tuesday March 14, 2017

How one woman came to forgive the man who murdered her father

Margot Van Sluytman with Glen Flett, the man who killed her father.

Margot Van Sluytman with Glen Flett, the man who killed her father. (Courtesy of Margot Van Sluytman)

Listen 42:58

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We've gotten a lot of letters from our listeners in our call-out for your personal moments of disruption.  But one that stopped us in our tracks was from Margot Van Sluytman.

Here's what Margot wrote to us:   

"Meeting the man who murdered my Dad, disrupted my family life. At the time of that occurrence, I was told to trust.

'Trust what happens when authenticity of the heart guides your choice.' 

Ten years later, that disruption has become an aspect that infuses my relationship to my family with deepened respect for each other. And, also shifts how we can talk with each other, even when we do not agree."

The man who killed her father is Glen Flett. He was later convicted of second degree murder and spent 15 years in prison.  

Margos father

Margot's father, Theodore, died at the age of 40. (PA Life)

Margot and Glen are now friends and occasional colleagues, speaking in prisons in Canada about restorative justice. 

The story goes back to March 27, 1978, when Flett, with two other men, tried to rob a Brinks truck in Scarborough, Ont. It was Easter Monday.Theodore Van Sluytman was one of the sales representatives at a Hudson's Bay store.  That morning he said goodbye to his wife and four children and went to work on his day off to get ready for an upcoming sale. In a brief encounter Glen Flett shoots and kills Theodore Van Sluytman.   


VIDEO: Margot Van Sluytman and Glen Flett recall the day Margot's father Theodore was murdered.


Margot Van Sluytman's teenage years after that were not easy. She suffered from depression, bulimia and tried to kill herself once.  

Glen leaves prison, marries and tries to repair his wrongs by helping other victims of crime. Margot becomes a published author and poet. 

About 29 years after the murder of Theodore Van Sluytman, Margot and Glen reconnect: first via email and eventually they meet in person, neither really sure of where this will take them.  


"I just walked up to him and ... we just hugged each other and he said, 'I'm sorry'. And he was crying and I was crying ... I said, 'I know, it's OK.' And it was very powerful and it was very, very real." - Margot Van Sluytman on her first meeting with Glen Flett

On The Current, Glen and Margot tell us their story of reconciliation and friendship. 

Listen to the full conversation at the top of the post.  

This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese.