FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – Family of April Tinsley spoke out Friday after they sat in the court room as John D. Miller admitted to abducting and raping April Tinsley.
April’s mom, Janet spoke exclusively with Fort Wayne’s NBC reporter Kaitlyn Kendall Friday.
Janet said the family didn’t want the plea deal to happen all, in fact they wanted just the opposite.
Those close to April say the 80-year agreement isn’t enough.
April’s cousin Kristina Snyder got emotional recalling the day and said, “The family waited 30 years to get this day, and it feels like it’s been taken away.”
More of April’s family spoke out. Her other cousin Shannon Whelchel said, “We don’t feel like this is justice. April didn’t get justice.”
“Yep my nightmare is starting again,” Janet Tinsley added, “My husband? He chewed out Karen Richards from head to toe. Told her no, he killed her I want his head.”
The family has wanted the death penalty since the beginning. Janet said, “Us getting the closure as a whole complete family would have been if we got the death penalty.”
Janet says prosecutor Karen Richards told family, she wanted to skip a trial for the families sake.
“The reason why she took the death penalty off [the table] is because she didn’t want us to sit through a trial and relive the last 30 years. I told her I’ve been through the last 30 years already a couple weeks aren’t going to hurt me. All I have to do is, if I see something I don’t want to see, I can look down, I can plug my ears,” said Janet.
Snyder went on to say, “Nobody in the family wanted to except a plea bargain. We wanted this to go to trial. We wanted to shoot for the death penalty.”
In court Miller read a prepared statement sharing what he did to April, while April’s family sat in the court room and heard the details for the first time.
“It was hard hearing him tell us how he killed her,” said Snyder.
Janet said she broke down when hearing Miller talk about the details, “I started shaking. It felt like my stomach was turning. It was bad, I totally wasn’t expecting that.”
Even after thirty years, April’s family still gets emotional when thinking of her.
“What makes it harder is as I grew up and I saw all my milestones I knew that she didn’t get to do that, she wasn’t there,” said Snyder.
The family feels strongly that justice wasn’t served, even though Miller will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars.