Bradley Manning's Hometown Reacts To WikiLeak Case Verdict

Tuesday, July 30th 2013, 10:19 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma soldier Bradley Manning was acquitted of aiding the enemy Tuesday, but he could still be sentenced up to 136 years in prison this week.

The 25-year-old Army Private from Crescent, Oklahoma, is now known around the world for admitting to leaking more than a half million military documents to WikiLeaks. Manning was convicted on charges including espionage and theft Tuesday.

7/30/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Soldier Acquitted Of Aiding The Enemy, Convicted Of Espionage

"I'm not surprised from all the evidence I've heard on TV," Crescent area resident Reita Walker said.

In Manning's home turf, 40 miles north of Oklahoma City, there was widespread reaction to the verdict. People in town who know Manning all seemed to have an opinion on the verdict, but most would not go on camera. Many locals do not even want to be associated with the soldier but family friend Jennifer Kegin didn't mind.

"There should be repercussions for what he did, but [he shouldn't] spend the next hundred years in prison," Kegin said. "I really think that he didn't do it for Internet fame. I think he did it, thinking that he was helping out us Americans."

Kegin has known Manning since he was in grade school. She calls him a whistleblower. Others in town called Manning stupid. Walker says the whole thing is just sad.

"I feel really bad for his family because I know that's hard for them," Walker said. "It gets pretty close to home when it's this close."

Kegin admits the soldier's hometown is divided along with the rest of the world.

"With being a small town, a lot of people stand behind you whether they agree or not," Kegin said.

Manning's sentencing date is scheduled for Wednesday. In this case, there is no minimum sentencing requirements the judge must follow.