Fulton Co. community reacts to Alyssa Shepherd sentencing
ROCHESTER, Ind. --- Fulton County community members are reacting to the Alyssa Shepherd sentence of four years in prison.
Some community members said the sentence is too long, while others said the sentence is not long enough.
Shepherd was sentenced to four years in prison, three years in home detention and three years of probation. Shepherd's license will also be suspended for 10 years.
The maximum sentence Shepherd faced was 21 1/2 years. The prosecution suggested a sentence of 14 years, 10 of those years served and four years of probation. The defense suggested Shepherd serve an eight year suspended sentence.
Shepherd was found guilty on three counts of reckless homicide for the deaths of Xzavier Ingle, 6, Mason Ingle, 6, and Alivia Stahl, 9 and one count of criminal recklessness resulting in bodily injury for the injuries Maverik Lowe, 11, sustained.
Reaction waivered on whether community members believed the sentence was appropriate, but all agreed the situation is tragic.
“It’s a very tragic situation on both ends,” said Amber Webster, a resident of Rochester.
“It’s just a tragedy for what happened to these poor little kids,” said Peggy Smith, a resident of Rochester.
Some members of the community have started a petition to push for a longer prison sentence.
“She should have got the whole sentence. That’s just how I feel,” said Smith.
“I mean we’re talking about three children who are never going to grow up and she’s only given 10 years,” said Stacy Smith, who is visiting her mother in Rochester.
While opinions waivered on the appropriate sentence, community members tried to view the situation from both perspectives.
“Heart-wrenching for both sides. I mean they’re both mothers…three little lives are gone, that’s hard. It’s broken up our community quite a bit, so it’s just a hard situation… it’s not good on both sides. It’s terrible for both families and as a community we’re mourning,” said Webster.
Brittany Ingle, the mother of Mason, Xzavier and Alivia, was charged with misdemeanor battery after Ingle charged at Shepherd following the sentencing.
Family members of Mason, Xzavier and Alivia hoped for a longer sentence.
Brittany and Shane Ingle issued the following statement:
“It's now been almost 24 hours since the sentencing hearing for Alyssa Shepherd and much has been said by the community about the outcome. Our family wishes to share the following statement to share our thoughts on the entire tragedy from the beginning.
First, we need to look back at really what were the most important matters for consideration, perhaps you can call them "Aggravating Circumstances"...
1). The girl behind Alyssa Shepherd testified that she saw the bus in front of them and sadly also witness in HORROR Shepherd not slowing or stopping and hitting and killing Mason, Alivia and Xzavier and severely injuring Maverick.
2). It was stated in court testimony Alyssa saw yellow flashing lights, she asked her brother what he thought it was, he stated he thought it was a bus or truck. She said ok, I"m going to go around. A conscious decision she made with 15 before hitting the children in her truck. She didn't choose to slow down, she didn't choose to stop when she saw the flashing red lights, she committed to "just going around".
3). Though the girl traveling behind Alyssa Shepherd testified she saw the bus and the children, Alyssa Shepherd stated that she didn't see the children until she was right up on them and it was "Way too Late"...
4). The man in the truck behind the bus sees Shepherd hit the kids, runs to her car expecting to find a drunk guy or something and instead out comes Alyssa Shepher. First words out of her mouth were "What did I hit"... Remember she testified she knew she hit the children but now this version comes out. The man freaks out and says.. "WHAT DID YOU HIT? You hit a bunch of children and you killed them all"... No reaction from Shepherd and she gets back into her car.
Keep in mind, this is a Director of Children's youth group at a church, but she never asks how are the children, or anything about the children and doesn't do anything to even attempt to offer help in any way, she simply didn't care and got back into her car and called her friend. However she said she couldn't get a signal to call 911. She even supposedly spoke with her husband several times as well, so her phone was able to get a signal for everyone BUT 911.
5) On her way to get her blood test / screening, she asks the Police Officer "Is this going to take long? I gotta get to work"... AGAIN, never asks about the children, our children meant nothing, but she did think getting to work was important.
6). During her video taped interview played at the trial approximately 2 hours after she ran over and killed our babies and injured another boy SEVERELY, she acts like nothing is happening, shows a little emotion about her Step-Father having surgery, but quickly goes back to casual conversation, giggles and laughter. More importantly she STILL NEVER ASKS ABOUT OUR CHILDREN.... Are they hurt bad? Are they alive? How many? NOTHING!!!
Alyssa Shepherd never spent a single day in jail after running down and killing three beautiful and innocent children and severely injuring another. Even after being convicted of 4 Serious Felonies, she was allowed to go home another two months and spend time with her family, rather than being remanded into custody.
She has had numerous holidays, birthdays, vacation days, school days, hugs, kisses and watching her children grow up and playing an active role in her children's lives. We celebrate Birthdays, Christmas, Holidays in general by going out to the cemetery to where our babies are buried and decorate the grave site and spend time at the grave site because that is all we have.
We have heard people testify that she should not be taken from her children and be given house arrest, probation and other ludicrous suggestions that made our heads blow up and frankly disgusted us. Our children being killed by Alyssa Shepherd didn't matter to any of them. They did not feel she should be held accountable. She was special and she should get a free pass. She's a Christian, She's a Youth Director, she's a good person...
Go back and read what we feel are just SOME of the Aggravating Circumstances. She has never said "I'm Sorry", never accepted responsibility, never shed a tear for our children and thought she was above the law.
So Alyssa being a Christian was supposed to be a get out of jail free card. But wait a minute, I'm a christian, my family are christian's, my family actually is very heavily involved in the arch diocese, we been involved in youth groups, and most importantly, OUR CHILDREN ARE THE GREATEST GIFT FROM GOD HIMSELF.. Does that account for anything?
In a nutshell, the bottom line is this. Alyssa Shepherd had 15 seconds to choose slowing down and when the lights were flashing red and school bus stop arm extended, STOP... RED MEANS STOP no matter who you are or what your faith.
NO COMPASSION, NO CONCERN, NO REMORSE, NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
Our children are no less important than anyone else's. OUR CHILDREN's LIVES MATTERED to us, our family, friends, church, schools, THE COMMUNITY just ask around...
You can not take three children's lives and think you can just go home and pretend it never happened or that you are ABOVE THE LAW and should not have to account for your decision and actions.
Alan Durshowitz has a basic principal he lives by among many and we agree completely. It's a thing called "THE SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT TEST"... If things were different and it was Alyssa's Shepherd's children or family members killed, would they still think it's okay to get a free pass and not be held accountable. OF COURSE NOT
So how much is a child's life worth when they are killed by a person who made a choice to ignore simply basic rules of the road? Well how about 3 young children and severely injuring another?
Alyssa Shepherd may have good qualities and be a Christian and a Director of a church youth group, but she is still no different than a junkie, a person of color, a poor person or anyone else, she needs to be held accountable just like everyone else.
The police did their job and investigated this tragedy and collected meaningful evidence.The Presented the evidence to the Prosecutors office who reviewed and concurred and took that evidence and made an excellent prima facia case and presented it to a jury of her peers. The jury listened attentively, asked great questions, were completely engaged from start to finish, gave fair consideration of the "FACTS" of the case and returned guilty verdicts on all accounts. They judge then weighed the jury decision, facts, mitigating, aggravating circumstances and worked within the guidelines the current laws avail and pronounced sentence.
Do we feel the sentence should have been stronger? Of course we do. Does the community feel the sentence should have been stronger? We've heard from THOUSANDS of people all saying she should have received a stronger sentence from LIFE IN PRISON and more.
Should she be sent to prison "YES". Does the community suffer a loss if she goes to prison? Perhaps, that is debatable, but is that loss to the community even remotely compare to the loss of three beautiful and innocent children KILLED by Alyssa Shepherd because she chose not to slow down or stop for RED FLASHING LIGHTS on a STOPPED School Bus with it's stop arm extended? I DON'T THINK SO...
When taking all things into account and working with the strong limitations afforded him by law, the Judge we feel did the best he could with what he had to work with to avoid this nightmare continuing for our family, their family and our community. We must make changes to the law to allow judges the leeway to dole out more stringent sentencing. His verdict is a vehicle for us all to utilize to begin the healing process and that includes are beautiful community.
Let's not continue to pick at scabs and find ways to drag this pain and suffering out for our families, lets come together as a community and work together to make sure these type of tragedies never happen again, lets support new measures to PREVENT these type of actions and strengthen penalties to hold those accountable.
Agree or Disagree, when you take the life of three children, you must be held accountable and you must go to PRISON. We hope she takes the time to reflect on this all and use this opportunity to come to terms with her actions and accept responsibility, perhaps user her christian faith to minister others in prison and work to help us all make this world a better place.”