ELYRIA – Nobody would begrudge the Rev. Mark Petric`s right to foster at least a kernel of anger against his 16-year-old son.
Instead, Petric, 45, radiated compassion Saturday afternoon as he visited his son, Daniel, who is accused of shooting him in the face after an Oct. 20 argument at their Peck-Wadsworth Road home in Brighton Township.
Mark`s wife, Sue Petric, 43, was killed in the altercation. She was shot three times in the head and forearms, according to the county coroner.
“The reason I`m alive is because God spared my life,” said Petric, who was wearing a protective helmet at Lorain County Jail.
His jaw, which was broken by the gunshot, remains swollen on one side. His scalp carries a deep, stitched furrow where doctors had to open his skull to relieve bleeding on his brain.
Petric said he considers it a divine miracle that he survived with no long-term physical disabilities.
There is no brain damage, and doctors say a hole in his left eardrum will heal in time.
One more surgery is required to reset his jaw and replace a portion of his skull, but the physical pain is almost entirely gone, he said.
Petric could not eat solid food for nearly the entirety of his 27-day stay at MetroHealth, and doctors will remove a feeding tube – which is no longer used – from his body in early December.
His recovery allowed him to cancel another surgery that would have kept him hospitalized through the holiday season, Petric said.
“It has really humbled my heart to know there have been tens of thousands of people around the world praying for me,” he said.
He was released from the hospital Nov. 16, and said the first thing he did was visit a coffee shop with family.
“We`re just all really glad to have him home,” said his daughter, Holly Petric, who also visited her brother at the jail Saturday.
“The family is doing very well, especially now that Dad is home. We have each other to hold onto and give us strength,” she said.
Meanwhile, Daniel Petric awaits trial on charges of murder and attempted murder.
Daniel continues to be held on $1 million bond after a plea deal was rejected Nov. 9 in juvenile court.
Daniel`s attorney, James Kersey, offered a guilty plea on the condition that Daniel would be released when he turned 21.
Assistant County Prosecutor Tony Cillo declinedÂ the deal, and Daniel will be tried as an adult.
He could receive 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
While he is preparing to answer to the state, Daniel Petric already has answered to God, according to his father. Mark Petric said Daniel has recommitted his life to Christianity. Now the 16-year-old spends much of his day writing letters to family, he said.
“He was wrong and he knows it, but I do have a lot of forgiveness in my heart now, thanks to God,” Mark Petric said.
For the first two weeks after he awoke from his gunshot-induced coma, MarkPetric said he harbored a great deal of anger against his son.
Those feelings festered and became hatred. Then God gave him an “attitude adjustment,” he said.
“I know that it`s only the power of prayer and God that have gotten me through this,” Petric said.
Contact Jason Hawk at 653-6264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.