Her boyfriend murdered an East Texas trooper and she admitted to helping him avoid capture. Now, Jennifer Petrick has pleaded guilty to "hindering apprehension" and was sentenced to seven years as part of a plea agreement.
You may remember, the victim, Trooper Scott Burns was shot and killed in April of last year, leaving behind a wife and baby girl. Petrick's boyfriend, Brandon Wayne Robertson, took his own life when he was surrounded several days after the murder. Tuesday, Trooper Burns' family and Petrick's family sat on opposite sides of a Cass County courtroom.
The family of Trooper Scott Burns would like to see Jennifer Petrick locked-up for life.
"She's only going to be away from her family for seven years, but my daughter will never know her father physically and he was such a great man," said Michaela Burns, Trooper Burns' widow. "[He was] a great father and a great husband, great son, great brother, and she's never shown an ounce of remorse for what she's done. She comes into the courtroom smiling, waving and my family's suffering everyday."
But, Petrick's mother says her daughter should be free. She says while they were on the run, Brandon Robertson held her hostage.
"What does a person do when they have a gun to their head?" asked Rae Loyd, Petrick's mother. "They want to live."
"I don't believe that he held her at gunpoint the whole time, and you know they were dating," said Michaela Burns. "She's not a victim, my family is."
When I questioned Petrick's mother further, she left in a hurry.
"What was their relationship like, her and Brandon?" I asked Rae Loyd. "Had they dated for a while?"
"Eight or nine months, but it was already over," Loyd replied. "It was already over. I'm gone I'm gone."
Trooper Burns' brother, Stacy, says they wanted a stiffer charge.
"Scott gave his life to put these people in jail and we don't even try the case," said Stacy Burns. "That's what he hated the most was arresting people, putting people in jail, and then they get back out."
Michaela Burns clings to his badge for strength. But, she misses her husband terribly.
"His smile and the way he was with my daughter, with our daughter, and just how much he loved his family," said Michaela Burns.
He can never be replaced.
"I don't think she ever, Jennifer, will ever really understand the depth of the pain that she helped inflict on my family," said Michaela Burns.
There is another defendant left in this case. Paula Michelle Tucker is also charged with hindering apprehension. Cass County authorities say Tucker was sending text messages to Robertson, warning him of where law enforcement were looking.