A man recently strangled a Chicago-area college student because she ignored his catcalls and unwanted advances, prosecutors say. The victim's family is responding with almost unimaginable grace toward the killer.
What are the details?
Ruth George, 19, was found dead in her car at a campus parking garage at the University of Illinois at Chicago last Saturday. Donald Thurman, 26, was arrested the next day for committing the murder. He is a parolee who had been released from prison last December.
According to NBC News, Thurman admitted during questioning that he sexually assaulted George while she was unconscious and strangled her to death.
Prosecutors said Thurman thought George was "pretty and tried talking to her, but the victim ignored him."
He then allegedly followed George to her car and catcalled her. After being ignored once again, Thurman put George in choke hold. Once she was unconscious, he dragged her into the backseat of her car, sexually assaulted her, and killed her.
Thurman was booked on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated sexual assault.
He had previously been convicted on an armed robbery charge and was sentenced to six years in prison. He was released last year on parole, two years into his sentence.
The family's incredible response
George's family said in a statement that they "hold no hatred" toward Thurman.
"Ruth lived out her deep faith in Jesus by loving and serving others, leaving a legacy of Christ-centered kindness and sacrifice," the family said. "She was the beloved baby of our family. We grieve with hope. We hold no hatred towards the perpetrator, but our hope is no other girl would be harmed in this way and for a mother to never experience this type of heartache."
George, who liked to be called "Ruthie" according those close to her, was an honor student at the university pursuing a career in physical therapy.
In a tribute post published by the university, teachers and classmates remembered George as an exceptional student, an active member of her health professions fraternity, and most of all, a genuinely kind and vibrant person.
"Some people can light up a room, and Ruthie was one of those people," said Michele McCrillis, an assistant dean, before talking about how enthusiastic George was about engaging in opportunities at the school.
"But it's her smile that I remember, and will miss, the most."