CENTREVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) - When Ricky Spencer is sentenced Friday on a charge of conspiracy to commit the murder of Venus Stewart, he likely won't be sentenced to the possible 15 years in prison.
Because prosecutors offered him a deal for his testimony against Venus' husband, Doug Stewart, Spencer will serve no more than a year in the county jail.
That is a sentence Venus Stewart's friends and family just can't stand.
Mary Ellen Hopkins, Venus' aunt, and family friend Sue Billings are protesting the deal Spencer received. They say, as Doug's accomplice in the murder, he deserves 12 years behind bars.
"It's like a slap in the face to the family," Hopkins told 24 Hour News 8. "(Spencer) has to own up for his responsibility."
Even though it's unlikely Judge Paul Stutesman -- who presided over the Doug Stewart trial -- would rule against a prosecutor's recommendation, he could. And it's because of that they're protesting.
During the trial, Spencer, a Delaware college student who met Doug Stewart online playing xBox Live, testified about the role he played in the murder of Venus Stewart.
He knew about the murder pland for weeks. He traveled to Virginia, he said, and pretended to be Doug Stewart while Doug went to Michigan and killed his wife.
Then came the chilling testimony when he told the court what Doug Stewart told him on the phone that day in late April 2010.
"(Doug) said there was a scream. She only screamed once and she tried putting up a fight, but he was able to get in that headlock and a drop of blood came from her nose," he said on the witness stand.
But Hopkins is not pleased that Spencer will serve only a year.
"He deserves more time than this. Venus deservers more than this. Venus' daughters desever more than this. Ricky could have stopped it. Ricky could have called police."
Prosecutor John McDonough told 24 Hour News 8 he understands the family's feelings, but stands behind the deal and thinks it's the right punishment.
If Judge Stutesman decides Spencer should serve more time, there could be a trial. And if it's found that Spencer's lying - and knows more about the murder than he's already admitted - he could serve life in prison for lying at a murder trial.
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