WATER NEVER, Va. (WRIC) – Convicted rapist Norman Jimmerson has been behind bars for 30 years after raping a woman in Williamsburg, Virginia. Recently, he spoke to the victim of that assault and she asked for his forgiveness.
Debbie Smith requested a meeting with Jimmerson, 30 years after he assaulted her. She said she was ready to forgive his actions and needed to talk to him to “know that forgiveness is completely real.”
Smith became nationally known after she was the victim of a brutal rape in her own backyard, endured an embarrassing courtroom fight to put DNA evidence to the test and wrote. legislation for victims of sexual assault.
They talked for five hours. Jimmerson said there were a lot of tears and crying. He had wanted to tell Smith how he felt for a long time.
“I regret everything I put her through,” said Jimmerson.
“Just listening to her and understanding what she was going through and everything, it was very impactful,” says Jimmerson.
Smith previously talked about her experience in that meeting and how the attack affected her life.
During that conversation, Smith said Jimmerson apologized over and over again. She says it’s regular and “very authentic.”
“He said ‘sorry not, but that’s all I have,'” Smith said.
“He stopped and he said, Debbie please none of this is my fault. I should never have entered your house your castle, your private house, you did absolutely nothing wrong that day. Those are the words I thought I would never hear. To hear that from the person in charge, that’s what made the difference. That’s what set me free. And knowing that, I knew I needed to fear this man even more,” she said.
For years, Jimmerson could not even admit his actions to himself or to others.
“I can’t believe I’d do such a thing and the pain I’ve caused,” said Jimmerson.
For a long time, Smith lived in fear that Jimmerson would return. The crime remained unsolved for six years until Virginia’s newly formed DNA data bank was affected in 1995 by a DNA sample recovered at the scene. It connects Jimmerson to the case.
Years passed before the original DNA technology was used to link him to the crime. Virginia’s DNA database was the first of its kind in the country and has forever changed the way detectives solve crimes. “It’s like the gold standard for these investigators,” Smith said.
Smith was a Huge advocate for DNA testing. She successfully fought to provide federal funding to crime labs across the United States with the Debbie Smith Act. “I believe we are still only doing what this science can do,” Smith said.
Jimmerson said he attacked Smith while on drugs in response to the death of his three-year-old son.
“The drug has become a drug,” says Jimmerson.
It was not until he was in prison that Jimmerson stopped denying his actions. After years of lying, he confessed his crimes to his family.
“I had to go through a process of even wanting to get to the point where I could admit that I had harmed someone,” says Jimmerson.
He credits Virginia Department of Corrections programs such as “Thinking for Change” and the “Victim Impact Program” for staying true to the facts and opening his eyes to the impact of his actions. his actions towards others. Jimmerson credits his time in prison with rehabilitation and says he basically grew up behind bars.
“It makes me want to be the best I can be,” says Jimmerson.
Jimmerson will soon be considered for pardon. That decision will be in the hands of the Parole Board.
Smith is not sure how she feels about the possibility of Jimmerson being released but she says she believes with all her heart that he has changed.
“When I left, the only words I could say to my husband was, I am finally free,” Smith said.
https://kfor.com/news/i-regret-everything-convicted-rapist-comes-face-to-face-with-his-victim/ ‘I regret everything’: Convicted rapist confronts his victim