Widow: Punishment for death of Dewayne Bunch 'disrespectful'

bestep@herald-leader.comAugust 7, 2012 

Lawmaker Injured

Dewayne Bunch

AP

Two juveniles charged in the death of former state Rep. Dewayne Bunch pleaded guilty Tuesday to an enhanced charge, but they will not serve any additional time in jail, according to Bunch's widow.

The two were first charged with assault for injuring Bunch during a fight. The charges were changed to reckless homicide in the wake of Bunch's death last month, according to Regina Bunch.

However, the teens don't face additional jail time, Bunch said.

Bunch said she thinks it is unjust that the two won't serve more time behind bars given that her husband died as a result of injuries he received trying to break up a fight between them.

"I feel like it's disrespectful to the life of my husband," Bunch said.

She said she understood the two spent less than 90 days in a juvenile detention facility after they were initially accused of injuring her husband in April 2011.

The teens were charged as juveniles, so authorities have not released their names, and their cases were handled confidentially.

Court officials said they could not comment on the case.

However, Bunch said she attended a hearing for the teens in Williamsburg on Tuesday.

Dewayne Bunch suffered a critical head injury when he tried to break up a fight between the teens — then 15 and 16 — in the cafeteria at Whitley County High School, where Bunch had taught math and science for 17 years.

The two reportedly were fighting over a girl.

Bunch was punched and fell to the floor, hitting his head. He died July 11 after struggling for more than a year to recuperate.

Regina Bunch said she was allowed to make a statement during the hearing Tuesday.

She said she told the teens how hard her husband had worked to recover and of the loss and heartache the two had caused.

"I told them, 'You've taken the most important thing in my life,'" Bunch said. "He was my rock."

Bunch said she and Dewayne Bunch dated for seven years and had been married 12 years when he died.

"I struggle every day," she said.

Bunch said the teens didn't seem remorseful during the hearing, but she said she told them she hopes they find a way to deal with what they did and live a life of integrity, like her late husband.

And Bunch said she told the teens she will forgive them.

Dewayne Bunch served more than 20 years in the Kentucky National Guard, spending time in Iraq and receiving honors that included the Bronze Star, according to his House biography.

Bunch, a Republican, won election to the state House in 2010.

He resigned after being injured. Regina Bunch won a special election to replace him.

Bill Estep: (606) 678-4655. Twitter: @billestep1.

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