Love, choices & forgiveness - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Love, choices & forgiveness


MADISON (WKOW) -- 14 years ago, three lives changed forever. A woman was visiting a friend in Reedsburg. Alone in the house, she laid down to take a nap.

When she woke up, she found two teen boys about to steal her car. What happened next, makes Jackie Millar 'Someone You Should Know.'

Jackie Millar proudly shows off her son's photography and her granddaughter's artwork.

Jackie is like any other mother, protective of her two sons. But Jackie isn't the mom her two sons grew up with.

"Jackie Millar, Chad and Derek's mother died ," said Jackie.

Jackie's life changed forever November 4th, 1995 . Craig Sussek, 16-years-old, and Josh Briggs, just 15, wanted to steal a car.

Jackie's was parked in a friend's open garage in Reedsburg. Jackie woke from a nap when the boys were about to get in and drive away.

That's when Craig shot Jackie in the back of the head and left her for dead on the living room floor.

Jackie defied the 2 percent chance she had to live. She is paralyzed on the right hand side of her body. She is legally blind. There are 7 bullet fragments still in her head; if they move, she could die or be put into a vegetative state. Beyond even all that, Jackie has done something not too many people could do or even understand. She forgave Craig and Josh.

"It's so easy to forgive someone," said Jackie.  "I forgave for me. I wanted to go on with my life. But I will always remember that Craig and Josh tried to kill me," said Jackie.

And not just forgive, but Jackie genuinely loves them.

"They love me. I love them, as fellow human beings," said Jackie.

Through the University of Wisconsin Law School Restorative Justice Project, Jackie can visit Craig once a year in Stanley Prison, east of Eau Claire. They talk about the weather. They talk about a recent math test Craig took. They talk about that day 14 years ago.

"I know you would like to take the bullet back. But I don't want that," said Jackie. Craig responds "People won't understand that."

Jackie is quite clear on that point. She is convinced the shooting happened for a reason.

Jackie has told Craig "I have got a relationship with you, the young man who tried to end my life." Craig calls her one of the strongest people he's ever met.

We asked both Jackie and Craig what it's like seeing each other as the anniversary of the first day they met approaches.

Craig says "As strange as it sounds, Jackie and I are friends now. When Jackie forgave me there's obviously no other motive for that so to me that's pure love."

On 27 News at 10 on Wednesday, the 14 year anniversary of the shooting, we take you along as Jackie reaches out to today's teens.

You can read more about Jackie's journey in her book.

To learn more, visit


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