Killer Freed

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This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," August 12, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: He took part in a school shooting that killed five people, but Mitchell Johnson (search) is now a free man after being locked up for seven years. Johnson and another student pulled a fire alarm at a Jonesboro, Arkansas (search), middle school back in 1998, ambushing students and teachers as they walked outside.

Four classmates and a teacher were shot dead. Ten other people were wounded. Mitchell was 13-years-old at the time of the shooting. Because he was a minor, he could only be jailed until he was 18. Prosecutors used gun charges to hold him until his 21st birthday.

Joining us now is Mitchell Wright. His wife was killed in the shooting.

Mr. Wright, so what you do make of all this?

MITCHELL WRIGHT, WIFE KILLED IN SHOOTING: Well, it's kind of like there's been a total — I mean, there's been no justice whatsoever, from the standpoint, once the federal government got involved, we lost all rights as victims to know anything about the boys.

GIBSON: It was the feds?

WRIGHT: Yes. The federal government came in two years after they were sentenced and went after them on federal firearms violations. Now, the reason they did that was because they were afraid that our governor, Mike Huckabee (search), who has been very soft on crime, was afraid that he would let him out on 18.

So they came in to make sure that they kept him until 21, which we're glad they did that part.

GIBSON: All right. Tell us about your wife.

WRIGHT: She was 32. She was a wonderful mother. She was my best friend. We had been married for 12 years. We had a son that was 2 1/2 when this happened. She loved teaching.

GIBSON: And when you talk to the courts, to the judges, about what this school shooting did to your life, did you even get any lip service about how they were taking your loss into account?

WRIGHT: No. I mean, when they had their adjudication hearing, we're allowed to make a victim impact statement. Even during that statement, we're pretty much shut down from their defense lawyers from saying a whole lot to the boys. And once again, once the federal court system got involved, they won't even listen to us. Our lawyers cannot get any word about the boys whatsoever.

GIBSON: Mr. Wright, considering how old he was at the time of the shooting, what you do think should have happened?

WRIGHT: I mean, I understand that both boys were young. I have a 10- year-old son now. You know, he was 2 1/2 when this happened.

But if you are able to, you know, with malice, calculate, figure out a way to pull off a mass murder such as this, a mass shooting, I mean, if you're able to do an adult crime, then you should be doing adult time.

Neither one of these boys should ever have gotten out of jail. They should have been put away for life. I mean, do you want them for your neighbor?

GIBSON: Not me. Mitchell Wright, his wife was killed in the shooting. Mr. Wright, thank you very much.

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