10/30/07 — Legg makes deal in store shooting

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Legg makes deal in store shooting

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on October 30, 2007 2:01 PM

Amid tears and apologies, the widow and daughter of Ricky Thompson hugged family members of a man who killed their father in 2003 and shot at them as he tried to escape.

But they did not buy the explanation of Roy George Legg's sister and lawyer as he was sentenced to a little more than 16 years in prison on Monday as part of a plea bargain.

"Life is just not the same. I'm not happy. I never will be happy," widow Teresa Thompson said after hearing Legg's sister and lawyer claim that Legg suffered from mental illness.

"Insanity isn't working for me," Mrs. Thompson said.

Her husband, a Seven Springs volunteer fireman, "was just the type of person when he touched you, he touched you hard," she added.

Thompson's daughter Nita Thompson said she never bought the insanity defense, either, and still doesn't.

"I don't like it, not one bit," Mrs. Thompson said, adding however that she felt justice had been served with the sentencing. "It feels like a relief, but it's still there. Everything is still there."

Wearing an orange jumpsuit, Legg hobbled behind a walker to enter the Wayne County courtroom where he pleaded guilty to lesser charges to avoid a trial and reduce his sentence.

Legg's walker is a reminder of the deadly gun battle that killed 43-year-old Thompson and crippled Legg, now 59, at Ralph Casey's Grocery and Auto Parts in Seven Springs in May 2003.

Legg was originally charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, preparation to commit burglary, breaking and entering, larceny and possession of stolen goods, according to court records.

Thompson interrupted Legg's break-in, prompting a shoot-out that killed Thompson.

Outside the store, Mrs. Thompson and her daughter tried to stop Legg, who shot at them, police said. Mrs. Thompson ended the showdown by driving a car through a wooden fence and knocking Legg down, according to authorities.

Thompson had given Legg $9 in groceries a few days prior to the robbery and shooting, Mrs. Thompson has said, and Legg returned to the store in the early morning to rob it.

Legg, who lived in a tent at Tony Daw's Campground, was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun, and tried to steal groceries including candy, mustard, potato chips and cheese, authorities said.

On Monday, Legg's attorney Glenn Barfield -- who said that Legg would defend himself with an insanity defense before announcement of yesterday's plea deal -- maintained Monday that Legg was mentally ill.

"He's a very high-functioning individual," Barfield said. "He suffers greatly from various delusions. But he wants to take responsibility for what he's done."

Legg's sister, Cynthia Hanchak, said she extended her "sincere sorrow" to the Thompson family.

"They've been through quite an ordeal. We have been, too," Ms. Hanchak said. "I lost my brother, who withdrew not only from us, but from our children, who lost their beloved uncle Roy, and of course we didn't know why.

"'I would love to have your husband and your daddy back, but I do want to express our appreciation for your willingness to reach a compromise and for the prosecution and the court to work with us."

Ms. Hanchak said she hoped that Legg's case would lead to study of mental illness and finding out why a certain percentage of its victims become violent.

"Either continuing research into my brother's illness, or maybe in his ability to help his fellow inmates, there might be some level of good that comes out of this.

"It is true your honor that this is a different man, mentally, than the brother that I grew up with."

In sentencing Legg to three felonies and consecutive sentences along with each, Superior Court Judge Jack Jenkins also ordered Legg to pay $9,533 in restitution, covering funeral home bills and counseling with a doctor.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders and other members of the office were in attendance -- Thompson was the father of Deputy Randy Thompson, a member of the office's K-9 Division.

Winders said Legg "had already spent four years in Wayne County jail," and that time would be credited toward his now-active sentence.

"He'll get credit for time served, but he'll be in his 70s in his cell," Winders said.

Mrs. Thompson said that although she feels some closure from the sentencing, she does not feel her pain will ever cease. But she said she must stay strong for her family.

"I have got three beautiful granddaughters, and they need me," Mrs. Thompson said. "If Mr. Legg was so hungry that night, my daddy would have given him some groceries. The good ones are always the ones that leave, and the bad ones are the ones that stay."