Kym Beier stood in a courtroom Friday and addressed the man who shot her son in the head, rendering the Army veteran unable to care for himself or fully speak.
Beier said she was satisfied with the 17-year prison sentence being handed down to Johnathan Love, telling him to find a way to contact her if he ever wants to chat. The 31-year-old shook his head in acknowledgment.
“I want you to have a life after this,” she told Love. “I do, but make this count.”
Love shot three people outside a downtown Spokane bar on April 9, 2022, in what a prosecutor called “senseless violence” that forever changed multiple lives.
Tanya Roberts, a 49-year-old taxi driver, was sitting in her vehicle early that morning, while 32-year-old Nate Beier and Katelyn Corigliano, 31, were standing in front of Lucky’s Pub in downtown Spokane. All three survived, but Beier and Roberts, who were both shot in the head, suffered debilitating injuries. Corigliano was shot in the leg.
Meghan George told the court Friday she was on the sidewalk outside the bar when she heard gunshots and Beier yell for people to get down.
“He saved my life,” said George, looking at Kym Beier.
George shed tears during her address to Spokane County Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno. She said she is learning to work with the fear, confusion and other emotions that stem from the shooting.
She spoke to Nate Beier on a video call after Friday’s sentencing, thanking him and telling him she thinks about him every day.
As part of a plea agreement, Love pleaded guilty last month to two counts of first-degree assault and one count of second-degree assault. He was initially charged with three counts of first-degree assault and three counts of drive-by shooting.
Spokane County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tom Treppiedi said Corigliano is doing better physically but still dealing with emotional trauma. He said Corigliano supported the 17-year prison sentence recommended by the prosecution and defense, and ultimately handed down by Moreno.
Roberts and Nate Beier are leading similar lives in terms of recovery, Treppiedi said, noting they are making slow steps in the right direction.
Kym Beier said her and her family’s world changed when she received an early morning phone call from a chaplain at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center saying her son was shot and it was “really bad.” On the same call, a neurologist said they did not expect him to live.
“That started our journey,” Kym Beier said.
Nate Beier and Roberts were on life support and not expected to recover, according to court documents filed two days after the shooting.
An Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, Nate Beier bounced around several medical facilities, battling a life-threatening lung infection and sepsis in the process, Kym Beier told The Spokesman-Review last year.
She said Friday her son lives with her and her family. He cannot feed, dress or use the restroom by himself. He can’t play with his nephews and nieces anymore, either.
“We have 12 grandkids, and they lost a lot,” Kym Beier said.
He still has a good sense of humor and can speak some. She said the family celebrated the first time he held his cup against his chest earlier this year.
Ron Hauenstein, founder and executive director at Spokane Fatherhood Initiative, said Nate Beier, who has one son, graduated from his program’s fatherhood classes. He said he considered Nate Beier a friend more than a student and client.
Hauenstein also knew Roberts and said he held both people in his daily prayers.
He said Nate Beier, who was an avid outdoorsman, may never hike, camp, fish or walk his dog again.
“I believe Johnathan Love is not a bad person, but he made bad choices,” Hauenstein said.
Nate Beier’s parents may never be completely free to enjoy retirement because of Love’s decision to drink to excess and carry a loaded gun, Hauenstein said.
“Their entire life has been upended,” he said of the Beier couple. “They’re weary, exhausted and emotionally spent.”
Still, Kym Beier and George chose to forgive Love.
Andrea Crumpler, Love’s attorney, said this was a challenging case because they did not know why Love committed the crimes. He has no violent criminal history and did not know any of the victims.
“There’s no obvious motivation for this,” she said.
Crumpler said Love was extremely intoxicated and he believes he was drugged that night at the bar. Witnesses reported the gunshots came from an SUV driving the wrong way on Sprague Avenue.
A police detective said in documents that Love was intoxicated and vomited numerous times in an interview room. His friend was asked to leave by bar employees because of his behavior that night, Love told police.
Love, who wore gray dress pants and a long-sleeved gray shirt with a maroon tie Friday, stood and read a prepared statement.
He apologized for the “ripple effect” his actions caused. He didn’t remember that night and did not commit the assaults intentionally or with motivation, he said.
Love said he prayed for those he shot to survive.
“I am truly sorry and remorseful for the damage I have caused, and seek forgiveness,” he said.
Moreno said violent assaults seem to be increasing, and she doesn’t know why such “bad things” are happening in Spokane. She said she rarely hears the graciousness and heartfelt forgiveness that she heard from Nate Beier’s supporters.
Moreno said she found it “quite remarkable” that Love has no prior criminal history, and that actions do have consequences.
“I can’t really make sense of it, and I understand you can’t either,” she told Love.
Love will spend three years in community custody when he is released from prison.
Restitution is yet to be determined.