Neely said he had the assent of Seawell and Bridges's family and called yesterday's proceeding "invaluable closure."
Seawell did not return calls, nor did Bridges's widow, Jocelyn, but a friend said her family was focused on keeping up Kenneth Bridges's business, which promotes black-owned enterprises.
Walter Pennino Jr., working at a Lions Club pumpkin sale, said he remembered how the sniper shootings scared the volunteers in 2002.
(Katherine Frey For The Washington Post)
"I don't think Jocelyn wants to relive any of that stuff," said the friend, Philadelphia disc jockey Gary Shepherd. Asked whether that meant she approved of the plea, he said: "I didn't say that."
Some people in Spotsylvania said the plea was not ideal, saying that it showed how money drives justice or that it was not a fair sentence for the terror their community endured.
"My kids still won't get off the bus unless my wife or I are right there. They are scared to death about what could happen to them," said Wally Hayden, 40, a contractor, as he stood at the Michaels store where Seawell was shot.
Walter Pennino Jr. , 60, said that although he "hates to see a plea," he understood that the cost was prohibitive.
Pennino, a FedEx courier, was standing in the parking lot across from Michaels selling pumpkins to raise money for the Lions Club. He recalled scared volunteers from the group hiding in the storage shack during the same fundraiser two years ago.