Reno Woman Upset That Her Son's Killer Gets Plea Deal

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 5/22/2013 7:03 pm
Only Matthew Mahaffey knows why he pulled the trigger back on July  3rd of 2011, killing his good friend Michael Boyle.
But after the shooting, more pain and frustration followed for the victim's family, when social media passed on the news before police did.

"It was through friends that he had done this on facebook. That's how I was notified," said Boyle's mother Joni Spade.

Six months later Mahaffey, a young Iraq War veteran, still had not been arrested or charged with a crime.   News 4's Fact Finder Investigation spurred authorities to take a closer look at the case, and Mahaffey was arrested less than a month after our report aired.

But when Mahaffey accepted a plea deal in February which will most likley allow him to avoid prison time, it only brought more frustration for the victim's family.

"I believe he should have done time.  And jail time is not what I consider time.  He murdered my son," Spade told us.

The Washoe County District Attorney's office tells News 4 the family agreed to the terms of the plea bargain.  And Mahaffey's attorney, who fought to keep his client out of prison, insists there is no good outcome for anyone one in this case.

"We have a young man who is dead.  We have another young man who caused his death.  It's a tragedy all the way around," Mckenna said.

For Joni Spade, the loss of her only child is motivating her to get more involved in the debate over gun control and victims' rights.  She says she will push for change like mandatory background checks and offer her support to anyone who loses a loved one to a violent crime.

"I will go to the legislature, I will do these interviews, I will voice my opinion and I could give a rip about what people think about my opinion.   Because things have got to change," she said.

Matthew Mahaffey is scheduled to be sentenced on May 29th.  His attorney says he expects Mahaffey to serve three months in the county jail, once his classes let out for the summer.

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CtznActivist - 6/6/2013 7:37 PM
0 Votes
In response to nubgnngs42: This government isn't trying to "take away" anybody's guns. Gun control laws are about preventing certain people from having them (the seriously mentally ill, violent offender, etc.) as well as promoting people being more responsible about gun ownership (safety courses upon purchase, etc.). It always bothers me to hear people make the very ignorant statement about our government attempting to "take away" our guns...they aren't. Also, 90% of Americans favor stronger gun laws and, in the United States, the majority rules (constitutionally anyway).

NVResident - 5/24/2013 9:39 AM
0 Votes
I have been dismayed at the one-sided reporting on this case. First, the parents of the victim in this case have received $1.1 million in an insurance settlement based on their claim that this was a horrible accident caused by PTSD. If they believe, now, that it is murder, then they have committed insurance fraud. The young man that killed Mike Boyle was suffering from PTSD after serving in Iraq. He had gotten out of the service 5-6 months prior to the shooting. Mike was his friend. He had no intention of harming Mike. He had great fear of being approached from behind. It was the middle of the night in a bad area of town. He was in his automobile facing the direction that Mike and another friend were suppose to come from as they had asked for a ride. They came from behind instead and Mike opened the rear passenger door without letting him know they were there. He had a gun (legally acquired) in the open (not concealed) which he carried in his vehicle because he had a job that took him to remote areas of Nevada. It was fear based on his PTSD (documented well before this accidental shooting) and a gut reaction that caused him to shoot. Joe Hart, I know you have a relationship with the friends and family of Mike Boyle, but you should not let it jade your reporting when it so dramatically affects so many people.

Kramer - 5/23/2013 1:39 PM
0 Votes
This tragic shooting wasn't 'planned'. Using a blanket death penalty or "life" sentence isn't very practical nor commensurate justice. Read and understand the facts before U post a knee-jerk opinion. A background check isn't "going after the gun". Maybe we should request the miltary 'vet' returning personell for any PTSD or other conditions.

peg97 - 5/23/2013 12:24 PM
0 Votes
Very sad and heartbreaking. But she is going after the wrong laws. It wasn't the gun that killed her son it was the person. Go after or create a law that would put people like him in prison for the rest of their lives or give them the death penalty. If her son was killed with a knife from being stabbed would she try to outlaw knives? I doubt it.

RealityCheck - 5/22/2013 9:41 PM
0 Votes
I fail to see how a push for change like mandatory background checks would have stopped this. If someone wants to use a weapon and has a plan pretty much there is nothing you can do but protect yourself. Everyone is on the bandwagon to find a reason for everything and nobody wants to get to the heart of the problem. Bad people do bad things and they need to held accountable. Blaming accessibility to a weapon is not the issue here. Why don't you go after stiffer penalties and accountability for ones actions and actually help solve the problem.

Paskahousu - 5/22/2013 9:18 PM
0 Votes
The Gun isn't the issue in this case. The killer who isn't even doing time for his crime is the issue! If we had no guns, we would still have murders, rapist and thieves! Look at Chicago....

nubgnngs42 - 5/22/2013 7:35 PM
2 Votes
And I will voice my opinion against gun control. That is still my 1st Amendment right that the 2nd Amendment protects against this government that prefers disarmed citizens.
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