Families Prepare For Westside Shooter's Release From Prison - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro--Craig Rickert Reports

Families Prepare For Westside Shooter's Release From Prison

Posted at 11:00 PM--July 25, 2005

JONESBORO - On August 11th, Mitchell Johnson will turn 21 years old, and be eligible for release from Federal prison with a clean record. It's a day the victims' families knew was coming, that isn't making it any easier.

"It's just cruel all the way around," says Mitch Wright. His wife Shannon was a teacher at Westside, and one of those killed in the shootings.

"To know that this boy is going to get out and live the dream she could have is very sickening," from Brandi Varner. Her sister was killed that day.

"Dealing with it" is what Mitch and Zane Wright, and Brandi Varner have been doing since that horrible March day in 1998 at Westside Middle School. It was the day five families lost loved ones. Mitch lost his wife Shannon. Zane lost his mom. Brandi lost her little sister Britthney.

All killed by the 13 year old Mitchell Johnson and 11 year old Andrew Golden. Johnson is now a couple weeks away from his 21st birthday and has a probable release from Federal prison, less than seven years in jail for killing five.

Those who are affected the most simply say, "it isn't fair." The other shooter, Andrew Golden is 19. In two years, he will be able to get out of prison as well.

Due to Federal laws protecting under age inmates, there is no official word on when Mitchell Johnson will be released, and there is only speculation as to where he is being held. He is believed to be in the Memphis area.

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