Both Mr. Wrights deserve prison

DA takes issue with CN&R editorial

District Attorney Mike Ramsey has served as Butte County’s chief prosecutor since 1987.

I agree with part of your editorialTwo Wrights, Two Wrongs” [in the June 12 issue]. The older Mr. Wright should have been sent to prison for his heinous crime of rape. However, your criticism of the younger Mr. Wright’s self-imposed stipulated prison sentence is off base when you describe him as “an emotionally distraught 17-year-old … who had no record of violence.” Gregory Wright was neither emotionally distraught nor without a record of violence.

Wright was on a mission that day when he brought a fully loaded sawed-off .22-caliber magnum pistol and 15 rounds of extra ammunition to Las Plumas High School. That mission, according to his own statement to a fellow student and police investigators, was to kill a fellow student who he felt had interfered in his romantic relationship. School surveillance tapes showed him calmly searching the campus for this student. His eventual hostages also described his entry into the crowded band room as one of calm determination.

Wright’s violence potential was further exhibited as he pointed his gun at the chest of a campus security official; pointed the gun at the class teacher and motioned him to lock the door; fired a round into the ceiling to prevent school officials from entering; threatened to shoot any law enforcement officers who attempted to enter the room; and later shot another warning round into the ceiling.

Investigators noted how calm and collected Wright was during the event as he spoke with police negotiators on the phone and later during his taped interview. All noted his complete lack of remorse for his actions, with Wright choosing instead to brag about his violent criminal background in Oklahoma.

That record consisted of at least two burglaries, one of which involved him stealing a gun; arson of a residence; bringing a gun to school; and a drive-by shooting in which he claimed he was the shooter. He also claimed an association with a criminal street gang known as the “Playboy Gangsta Crips.”

Finally, it should be noted that he and his attorney chose the sentence of 22-plus years. I had offered a sentence of seven years to life, which would allow him to “earn his way out” of prison in a much shorter time. I further offered to condition his plea with the promise that the prosecution would not object to a parole in seven to eight years if he agreed to truly rehabilitate himself.

This offer was rejected with the statement that they did not want to take the chance he would serve a longer period of time than the 22 years they offered. This in itself speaks volumes about Gregory Wright’s dangerousness.