Shooting victim unhappy with plea deal

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Amanda Bell had never met Jessi Hudson, 22, before the night of Feb. 6 when Hudson broke into her Pymatuning Township home.

Bell rushed her three children into the bathroom and sat with her back up against the door, locking them inside.

“After I told him I have three babies in here, he shot three times in the bathroom,” Bell said.

One of those shots struck Bell in the back.  The scar and the bullet, which still lies underneath, are a painful reminder of the incident.

“My children, they have nightmares every night. Any time they hear a loud bang  or something that wakes them up, it scares them and all they are worried about then is if someone is trying to break into the house,” Bell said.

She and her boyfriend, Richard Hughes, were all set to go to trial.  Hudson was facing several charges, including three counts of attempted murder.

But the Mercer County District Attorney’s office pleaded the charges down.

“Eleven counts down to two counts of aggravated assault and one gun violation, which you got six or seven years probation for,” Bell said.

The plea means Hudson likely will spend at minimum only 20 years in prison, which is something the family is not happy about.

“I would have liked to have gone to court. I am not happy with the deal they gave him. It wasn’t enough time. He could have killed my children. I could be dead,” Bell said.

But Mercer County District Attorney Robert Kochems said while  the family may not be happy,  the outcome is the same without putting them through a trial.

“Because attempted murder can be defended by voluntarily intoxication and one of our witnesses, who is also a victim of his gun charge, says he was voluntarily intoxicated on drugs that night,” Kochems said.

Hudson is expected to be sentenced in September.  Bell and Hughes plan to be at every parole hearing to make sure he stays behind bars.

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