Woman fights to free man from prison after he shot her in the mouth in failed robberyBy Mason White 1:19 PM November 17, 2016
|Debbie Baigrie and Ian Manuel|
By: Wayne Morin
(Scroll down for video) A woman worked tirelessly to free a man from prison after he shot her in the mouth while trying to rob her.
Debbie Baigrie was 28-years-old in 1990, and had just welcomed her second child when she was shot.
Baigrie was walking to her car in Tampa, Florida, when 13-year-old Ian Manuel approached her with a friend and asked for change of a $20 bill.
Seconds later, the teenager pulled out a gun and shot the young mother in the mouth.
Baigrie underwent multiple facial reconstructive surgeries while Manuel was charged with attempted murder. He was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in an adult prison.
However, in 2010, a Supreme Court decision declared that minors could not receive life without parole on a non-murder charge. After the ruling, Manuel was resentenced to 65 years in prison.
Baigrie was not satisfied with the ruling as she felt that it was too harsh. “If he was a cute white boy at age 13, with dimples and blue eyes, there is no way this would have happened,” Baigrie said.
She attended all of his hearings and fought for his release. After serving 26 years, three months and 10 days, Manuel was paroled.
Manuel, now 39, meet with Baigrie, and the two hugged for two minutes. “It was like a reunion with a long lost son,” Baigrie, now, 54, said.
The two went out to eat together and they are now good friends.
Baigrie praised Manuel for emerging “not as a hardened criminal, but as a nice boy who used his time behind bars to educate himself.”