GRAND RAPIDS (AP) – A woman who kept silent about a murder 25 years ago apologized to the victim’s family for “agony and distress” and dodged a prison sentence Thursday for lying to investigators.
“Words cannot express how sorry I am for not coming forward,” Shelia Reed, 57, said in Kent County court.
Joel Battaglia was 23 when he was robbed and fatally beaten after leaving Mulligan’s Pub in Grand Rapids in 1990.
Reed admits seeing the suspect flee from what looked like a fight near her Grand Rapids apartment at that time.
Aurelias Marshall was recently convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Reed, who was 32 at the time of the crime, said she was afraid of Marshall but finally testified against him.
Reed was facing at least two years in prison for lying earlier to authorities. But Judge Mark Trusock placed her on house arrest for a year, noting her health and other issues. He said he wants the public to know that helping police has benefits.
“If I could do it all over again, I would never prolong a family to go through that type of agony and distress,” Reed said.
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