BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) – A Georgia family came face-to-face with their daughter’s killer to hear his punishment and fight for justice on Monday.
On September 7, 2020, 19-year-old Tori Busch was shot and killed by her friend 25-year-old Spencer Pruitt, at a Thomas Drive condo in Panama City Beach.
Pruitt pled guilty for manslaughter, but claims it was an accident.
He said he was playing a game with the handgun like he always did.
According to the arrest affidavit, at first, Pruitt removed the magazine from the handgun, took a round out of the chamber and aimed at his friend, and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire, police said.
Then Pruitt placed the magazine back into the gun, chambered a round, aimed it at Busch, and pulled the trigger, police had written.
That time it went off and struck Busch in the throat.
“It was unintentional but also unforgivable,” said Pruitt in his sentencing.
But Busch’s mother, Kelly, argues that wasn’t the case.
“It wasn’t an accident, it was intentional,” Busch said. “No one except for him has ever questioned that.”
One by one, family members talked about each of them before Judge Clark decided Pruitt’s fate, sentencing him to 25 years in the Florida Department of Corrections.
“And even though he was only given 25 years he’s given my family a life sentence of pain,” Busch said. “Our daughter was 19-years-old, she didn’t deserve this.”
Busch’s mother stood at the podium for more than 20 minutes.
She stood alongside her husband and son, recalling the terrible day she got the phone call about her little girl. She said her life won’t ever be the same.
“Before September 7th our family was happy, obviously living in a protective little bubble, innocent and always together,” Busch said. “Now our family is in shock, our entire community is in shock to know that one of their own was murdered.”
Before the final verdict, Pruitt stood up to read a letter he wrote.
He talked about how much he loved and still loves Tori. He said what he did was unforgivable.
Through all the pain, the Busch family said they fought hard and want Tori to be remembered for the caring, bold person she was.
“She stood up for injustice,” said her mother. “Tori stood up for someone in the room that night and it cost our daughter her life. But she did it and I am so incredibly proud that she stood up and did what was right and that’s what she was down to her very core.”
The Busch family said they are planning to make a memorial bench for Tori to be placed at the Bay County Pier.