Colby Leeper’s life changed dramatically the day his father was shot to death during a parking lot quarrel. Eight years later, he is finding hope from a very unlikely source.
Compassion, a group founded by death row inmates, is paying part of Leeper’s college education by awarding him a $1,500 scholarship.
The monies will help pay for his schooling at Missouri Southern State University, The Sacramento Bee reports.
“I could not believe I would never see him again,” Colby Leeper wrote about his father in the scholarship application essay. “I have missed him every day of my life since then.”
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The Compassion scholarship is reserved for family members of murder victims. It is financed by contributions from death row inmates
Leepr’s father, Edward “Brian” Leeper, was staying at the Stratford House Inn on Nov. 20, 2008. But he was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in the hotel parking lot, The Wichita police reported. A witness had reported hearing five or six shots.
“I’ll never forget his sister called me the next morning and she was crying and said she had bad news,” Hillary Brown Schrag, Colby Leeper’s mother, told The Sacramento Bee.
Schrag said she knew immediately he was dead.
An investigation later revealed that Leeper had been killed after an argument. A man named Joshuwa Matchett was convicted and is not eligible for released until 2026.
However, it’s a loss that both Colby and Schrag feel daily.
“I understand what it feels like to be lonely, to yearn for something you cannot have, to be lost and sad. I also know what it is like to overcome,” Colby Leeper wrote in his essay.
It was his overcoming spirit and sincere heart that Fred Moor, outside coordinator for Compassion, said won the teen the scholarship.
Moor said Leeper reflected on not only his loss, but others who were affected by his father’s death.
“The man who murdered my dad had his own children. They are also victims of this crime. I know it is not their fault. I wish I could change what happened. I could have my dad and they could have theirs,” Colby wrote. “Violence is senseless. I wish we could all let go of the hate and learn to feel compassion for one another. I learned this lesson the hard way, but it is one I will never forget.”
Moor added that Leeper is “an unusual man” and “a pretty neat person.”
Report via CBN News
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