Jonesboro, AR - A 21-year-old Arkansas man will be released from prison after serving time for his role in a school shooting that shocked the nation. The story is one no one in Arkansas forgets.
Back in 1998, 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson and 11-year-old Drew Golden waited in the Westside Middle School yard in Jonesboro during a prank fire alarm and then opened fire on the exiting students.
Thursday, Mitchell Johnson turns 21, and because Arkansas had no laws to impose life sentences on children convicted of murder. He will be set free.
Five people were killed…four of them young girls, and one teacher, Shannon Wright.
(Mitchell Wright, victim’s husband) "I got to the campus and a friend of ours who went to church with us stopped me and told me that Shannon had been shot."
Mitchell Wright says the experience was surreal and recounts having to tell his two-year-old son his mother was killed..
(Wright) "I said, ‘Son your mother was hurt really bad today,’ and I said, ‘God took your mother so she wouldn't be in pain anymore."
However, on August 11, Wright says the pain of losing his loved one will be renewed with the release of Mitchell Johnson. Johnson's mother says her son is reformed after spending seven years in prison.
She says he's truly sorry for what he's done and has even expressed interest in becoming a minister. However, other victims say it’s not enough.
(Brandi Varner, victim’s sister) "He robbed five families from their loved ones and now he gets to walk free and live the life that they should have lived. How can you justify that?"
Johnson's mom says her son will move from Arkansas after his release and likely enroll in college.