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

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.