Carey Foshee Sonnier, the woman who stood next to Sgt. Timothy Prunty as he was gunned down, says she remembers telling the dying man that "we're going to get through this together. I'm here to the end with you."
Now that his trial of Prunty's accused killer is over, Sonnier says that the end has come. "Finally, Tim can rest in peace."
Christopher Brian Cope was found guilty Tuesday of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Prunty in October 2010. A jury of 10 women and two men deliberated just more than an hour before returning the verdict.
The jury agreed that Prunty was standing outside a Circle K convenience store in southwest Shreveport talking with Sonnier when Cope pulled up, got out of his car and began firing.
Sonnier, who testified during the six-day trial, called KSLA News 12 just two hours after the verdict to ask about the sentencing. She says that she has no access to television where she lives and explains why she has chosen to live that way since she witnessed Prunty's murder.
"When you're just a regular person, you're not used to that. My life, as I knew it, ended that night. I'm a completely different person.
"I dropped out of school. I withdrew from the world. I [had] wanted to go back to school and get me a degree, but I can't do that now," Sonnier says.
"There are a couple of SPD cops, who shall remain nameless, who helped me save my life on a number of nights. ... I've lived with the guilt of being alive for two years."
Sonnier explains her withdrawal from society by describing the fateful night in detail.
Prunty told her to run after the shooting began. She ran. When the shooter left, she returned, knelt and held the sergeant's hand.
"I remember telling him that we're going to get through this together. I'm here to the end with you."
She says she doesn't know if Prunty died before her or later, but she recalls that "the ambulance people had to pry his hand out of mine when they came."
Now that the trial has ended, Sonnier says she believes that she stayed with Prunty truly until the end by testifying.
"Justice for Tim. And, hopefully now I can get some peace, cause I've been haunted with nightmares."
When told about the sentencing schedule, Sonnier says that she would like to attend, just "to see that piece of ...."
As for the guilty verdict, Sonnier admits that it means a lot.
"I know it won't bring Tim back. But it's like you're at the end of a book. I'd rather Tim be back."
Copyright 2012 KSLA. All rights reserved.