Community reaction to Loughner's plea agreement

Community reaction to Loughner's plea agreement

CREATED Aug. 7, 2012

Reporter: Valerie Cavazos

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- The Tucson community pulled together in the days and weeks after the January 8th shooting and Tuesday's plea agreement had a lot of people talking. Gunman Jared Loughner avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty in the court proceeding. He will receive life in prison without the possibility of parole.

KGUN9 reporter Valerie Cavazos spoke to several Tucsonans, who said they were relieved that there would not be a long agonizing trial.

Store owner and father, John Abbott, said "I'm sure it does create some closure for some of the families and it's not going to be long and drawn out. It's quick and it's done."

Britt Whitelaw said, "I do feel happy for the community that they were able to have some closure that he did admit his guilt and they can move one for that and not have to go through a long trial."

Judith Blair sat in the courtroom just before the the proceeding started. She too was relieved. "Some closure for the community and some healing is the primary thing." She sympathizes with the victims and the families -- having once been a victim of crime. "It's probably good not to relive it. To see it where it is and move on with your life and that's difficult."

Sheryll McManus was in the courtroom during the proceedings. "I felt sorry for everyone and a few times even for Mr. Jared." Despite how she felt, she didn't think that his plea would help heal the community. "No, I don't think there's any closure in this. I think every one loses out."

Jared Loughner could have faced the death penalty had there been a trial, but he'll get life in prison without the possibility of parole.  KGUN 9 wanted to know what the community thought about the plea agreement. Nearly all agreed that the life sentence was not enough. 

"I think he should be executed. The more that people continue to do the same thing -- that it's happening every day," said Johnny Peyron.

"What he did is so terrible and now he's going to live the rest of his life. He's continued to be a burden on people still," said John Abbott.

"I'm happy that he admitted guilt for what he did, but I find it to be a waste of money for Arizonan's to spend their tax dollars and pay to have him in jail when he admitted his guilt to a public figure and he should have recevied the death penalty," said Britt Whitelaw.