What Happened When a Pastor's Son Hired a Hit Man to Murder His Wife

Nancy Shore
Nancy Shore (NBC News/Meet The Press)

Nancy Shore arrived home from church one Sunday afternoon and saw a strange man in her garage.

"The unknown suspect put a silver-colored handgun to Nancy's head and demanded her purse. Nancy gave the suspect her purse and was then shot in the face," according to the affidavit.

Before he pulled the trigger, she cried out: "Jesus, save me!" D Magazine reports.

"When I came to, I thought, You're going to die, and then that's when God spoke to me and said, 'Get up.' He gave me the physical strength to get up," Howard says.

Police say John Franklin Howard, her husband at the time, hired a hit man to murder his wife to cover up an alleged affair and a significant embezzlement sum.

Shore was shocked. She'd met Howard, a pastor's son at church. To the outside world, they were the ideal Christian couple.

According to D Magazine:

Together, Frank and Nancy hosted one of the church's youth groups, and they sang in the choir on Sundays. Their son Jay would later tell people, "If the doors to First Baptist were open, my parents were probably inside."

That was nearly six years ago.

According to BBC, the jury took only two hours to find him guilty of attempted capital murder. He was sentenced to life in prison and will have to serve 30 years before he will be considered for parole. By then he will be about 85 years old.

Though Shore faced the ultimate betrayal, she clings to her faith and operates in forgiveness.

"So very thankful that my Heavenly Father is the giver and sustainer of life, and that on this day last year, He chose to save my life," Shore wrote on her CaringBridge page on August 18, 2013. "I'm grateful for the 911 dispatcher who took my call, the police and emergency personnel who worked to rescue me, and the doctors and nurses who received me at the hospital. God used them all!! I'm also grateful for my family and friends who have stood by me and helped me in so many ways. I'm thankful for all the prayers from those who know me but also others all across this country who don't even know me, but yet have prayed for me and sent cards. God has blessed me beyond what I could ever have imagined. He is Faithful and True, the Great Physician and the one who will always love me, and never forsake me and I praise him! Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers, especially on this milestone day. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!!"

Her message of hope has inspired others.

Shore opened up about her faith and recovery in an interview with BBC last week.

According to the report:

Despite everything she has been through, Nancy has been able to forgive her husband—and even offered him forgiveness via her victim impact statement at the trial.

"I have forgiven him," says Nancy. "The Bible says that if we don't forgive those who have harmed us then we are unable to be forgiven, and I couldn't afford not to forgive him, because I couldn't live with bitterness."

Nancy has not seen or heard from Frank since he went to prison. Although she has thought about visiting him, for now, she is keeping her distance. But there is one question that preys on her mind and that she would ask him if she could.

"What happened to the marriage?" says Nancy. "What in the world even caused him to want to go astray and find another woman? I know the shooting should be the most devastating part of it, but that has been the most devastating part."

Nancy's recovery has astonished doctors. She has had numerous operations to rebuild her face and eye socket and now has a prosthetic eye. She also has a full-time job working as a legal assistant in a law firm.

"I still have the bullet in my lung, but I had lost the use of my right arm and hand and I now am able to use it and I type," says Nancy.

She says she "vigorously" celebrates every birthday she has had since the shooting and still experiences joy singing in the church choir. Nearly six years after the horror of the attack on her doorstep, she is moving on.

"I'm able to be thankful once again for how God has saved my life and the healing that's happening in my children's lives, it's awesome," she says. "I'm excruciatingly happy."

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