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Last updated on Friday, April 6, 2012
(BEDFORD) - The family and friends of murder victim Braden Wilson will march around the courthouse on Monday to protest a plea agreement offered to the man that allegedly shot Wilson.
24-year-old Brent Knapp is scheduled to accept a plea agreement in Lawrence County Superior Court II at 9 a.m.
Eddie McLain, who hopes to have about 100 protestors, say the offer is a joke.
"The prosecution promised the family justice," McLain says. "This is not what we call justice. They told Braden's mother (Missy Wilson) they would do all they could to put this man behind bars and give him the maximum penalty - that is not happening. I don't know if the prosecution thinks they don't have a case they can win or what, but they should let a jury decide that."
McLain says the prosecutor's deal is not enough.
"The goal of this march is to show judge William Sleva the plea agreement is not acceptable and it is a travesty to justice," McLain says. "How can 16 years be given to someone, who claims he was high on Adderal, - which is an excuse - be a stiff penalty for killing someone why they slept and then that same bullet hits his 6-month pregnant girlfriend. We are lucky she and the baby didn't die. With the time he has all ready served, he will be out in about six years. That is unacceptable."
The shot that killed Wilson, according to a probable cause affidavit, also hit Raichal Miller, of Mitchell.
An autopsy report found the bullet traveled through Wilson's fifth finger on his right hand, which was near his face, then entered his head through his right temple and then exited his left cheek and then entered Miller's arm. The couple were sleeping when Knapp allegedly went into the bedroom and fired the fatal shot.
Besides snorting Adderal Knapp, told police he was drinking, before shooting Wilson in the morning hours of July 19, 2010.
Wilson's mother, Missy Wilson, wants the death penalty or the maximum prison sentence given to Knapp.
"I put my trust in the system and the system let me down and let Braden and Raichal down," said Wilson. "The only hope I have is all this news pressure will have... the judge won't accept the plea bargain that's the only hope we have."
Chief Public Defender Lorinda Youngcourt, who is representing Knapp, says in order to get a conviction for murder, the state would have to prove that knapp did it intentionally or he did it knowingly. She says there's absolutely no evidence of that.
Youngcourt has been attempting to secure a plea agreement for some time. That deal was reached this week. The murder charge will be dropped and Knapp will plead guilty to reckless homicide and criminal recklessnesss. If the plea is accepted by Judge Sleva, Knapp could face 16 years in prison.
Youngcourt says her heart goes out to Braden's family, but this isn't a murder case and never has been.
"I did death penalty work for 24 years and I know what a murder case looks like and this is not one," said Youngcourt.
Wilson hopes the judge will listen before making a decision. Wilson created flyers which supporters were posting around town and in Mitchell Thursday, in order to encourage more people to peacefully protest Monday.
The protest will be held at the corner of 16th and J Street, which is outside the courthouse. This Saturday, April 7, the people who plan to protest will meet at 2 p.m.
"My son was amazing. He was 20 years old. He was a chef. He was getting ready to go to culinary school," Wilson said.
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