Murder victim's mother spares convicted killer's life

LAS VEGAS --  A convicted killer will not face the death penalty because the victim's family does not want another family to suffer.

The district's attorney's office withdrew it's request against Brandon Hill for the 2011 murder of aspiring musician, Michael Portaro.

"It's been a grueling four years for the entire Portaro family," said Cynthia Portaro, the victim's mother, who appeared in court Monday for the penalty phase of Hill's trial. 

While she forgave Hill a few years ago, she was still waiting for one more thing -- an apology.


Cynthia portaro stood in front of a courtroom asking a judge to spare her son's killer.

"We do not ask that the court pursue the death penalty," she said.

Just as Cynthia was returning to her seat, Hill got up and came face-to-face with the woman who potentially saved his life.

"Thank you for forgiving me," said Hill. "I'm sorry for everything that you've been through. If I could take it back, I would."

"I hope you find peace, you still have a life and destiny," she told Hill.

Her words nearly brought Hill to tears.

"I felt like it was sincere, I did," she added.

Outside the courtroom, 8 News NOW cameras were rolling as the two families, brought together by tragedy, embraced each other in hugs.

"I felt a sense of relief that there is no hatred, animosity, anger because if you live in Christ, you cannot live with those things," Cynthia Portaro said.

Hill's family did not want to speak to the media, but his defense attorney praised the Portaro family for their actions.

"The fact that she could come in here and forgive him and ask the death penalty to be withdrawn and then have him apologize to her, the way that he did, I've never seen anything like it," said defense attorney Joe Abood.

It's been four years since Michael Portaro was gunned down during a robbery outside a northwest brew pub. His family is ready to move on.

"I pray for his family and my family as well," Cynthia said.

Hill still faces life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for April 16.

The Portaro family has started a support group for grieving families called Mourning Hope of Las Vegas.


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