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Tucson man takes plea deal in death of cyclists

Posted at 11:07 PM, Jul 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 09:26:09-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster for Rose Vieira.     

Her strong Christian faith frames really everything she does in life. That's helped get her through the moments of great sorrow she has had in the last year.

"Both Ken and I are Christians, and I say that in the present tense," Rose said. "And because we have been forgiven for so much, we forgive. Revenge, bitterness, hatred, getting back -- is not in my vocabulary and was not in Ken's vocabulary either."

Rose's husband, 68-year-old Ken Vieira, was killed while cycling with a group last year near La Canada and Hardy Road. Another cyclist, 72-year-old Clare Roades from New Mexico, also died and a few others were injured.

The man accused of hitting and killing Vieira and Roades took a plea deal on Thursday. Brian Lynch pleaded guilty to five charges including manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangerment.

The plea deal means no trial which brings Rose a sense of relief and a feeling of partial closure. 

Rose says she started seeing Vieira in August 2014.

Cycling was a huge part of Vieira's life. He was part of the Cactus Cycling Club for years and regularly led rides. Rose says he used cycling not just for physical fitness, but to give back.  

Vieira was a volunteer for Velo\Vets. The group helps disabled veterans enjoy cycling. Giuliana Donnelly with Velo\Vets says Vieira was one of their first volunteers.

Donnelly says Vieira was very supporting, patient and kind. He would often work with blind veterans, Donnelly said.

Rose says she donated some of Vieira's bicycles and cycling gear to local organizations.

In the days following Vieira's death there was a memorial ride in his honor. A large group showed up and stood by Rose. She says it was encouraging and she is blessed that Vieira made an impact on so many lives.

KGUN9 reached out to Lynch's attorney, Amanda Bynum. She says she filed a motion on Wednesday that alleges that the Pima County Attorney's Office and the Pima County Sheriff's Department withheld evidence in the case until a week before the trial, violating Lynch's due process rights.

That evidence had to do with Lynch's blood tests. Bynum says both showed the presence of methamphetamine in Lynch, but new results brought into question the amount. 

Despite that motion, in an email Bynum said Lynch admits he used meth and feels remorseful about the incident.

Bynum went on to say that Lynch has accepted responsibility and has agreed to pay restitution to the victims. Lynch hopes that they will forgive him as he never intended this, Bynum said.

Below is a portion of the statement from Bynum on behalf of Lynch: 

He wanted nothing more than to spare everyone the pain of a trial. We have asked for multiple non-trial resolutions that would require prison time, so he was pleased to get an offer yesterday even though it requires significant prison time.

His plea offer limited his potential at trial, which was 7 years to over 100 years. Now, Mr. Lynch will serve between 7 to 29.75 years in prison for his conduct. 

Lynch's sentencing is scheduled for August 25.