10/31/07 — Just 16 years: Mental illness no comfort for family who lost loved one

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Just 16 years: Mental illness no comfort for family who lost loved one

It isn’t hard to see that Ricky Thompson had a family who loved him.

He had a wife and children as well as an array of immediate family and friends who will never forget the day they lost him to a robber’s bullet.

That was four years ago, and the Thompson family is still grieving over the loss of a man they say was as kind as he was community-minded.

The Seven Springs volunteer firefighter had given Roy Legg some food the day before he surprised him in the early morning hours at his store in Seven Springs.

It was there that a robbery of a little less than $30 or so turned into the end of a man’s life.

Thompson thought something wasn’t right at the store, so he headed down to check it out.

It was there he encountered Legg, who his family says is mentally ill.

A shootout commenced, and a life was lost.

Legg signed a deal this week that will put him in prison for 16 years for the murder of Ricky Thompson — an agreement his family says is necessary because the man is sick.

Legg has already served four of those years, so he will have met his obligations in a little more than 12 years.

But although there might have been a reason to settle for a deal like this — mental illness — that must be little comfort to the Thompson family.

At the end of those 16 years, Ricky will still not be home.

The Thompson family opened their arms to the Legg family members who were in attendance at Monday’s sentencing.

That shows what kind of people they are.

But the rest of us should take note that this man took a life — mentally ill or not — and therefore, should pay with a sentence much more severe than this — or at least should be put away where he cannot possibly hurt anyone else ever again.

There are many questions that should leap to mind when discussing the Legg case. First off, what was a mentally ill man doing with a gun? Second of all, did he have a previous record of a tendency toward violence? And lastly, why was a man who was so sick out in society anyway. There had to have been some clues that would have suggested he was better off confined in some way.

It is hard not to feel sorry for the Thompson family. Their loss has been tremendous.

But as we do, we ought to think about how we want to see justice administered in this country and county.

That is the least we can do to honor Ricky’s memory.

Published in Editorials on October 31, 2007 7:35 AM