Church Eyewitnesses Respond to Killing
The reaction of the 18 church eyewitnesses to the shooting was consistent in some ways and diverse in others. A theme that runs through most of the eyewitness accounts was an initial disbelief that the police had used live ammunition against Woody, many having believed they used stun-guns. There is disagreement among the eyewitnesses whether the shooting was justified, eyewitness Sherry Manning having stated publicly that she thought it was; but on the objective issue of whether they observed Woody to threaten anyone, in word or action, they were unanimous in recalling to state police investigators that he had not. Several of the eyewitnesses went public almost immediately after the shooting to state that the police should not have shot Woody. Letters from eyewitnesses Heidi Bredfeldt, Norman Hunt, and J.B.C. Thomas appeared in the Brattleboro Reformer within days of the shooting.
Several of the eyewitness became actively involved in the struggle for justice, calling for a fair investigation. Eyewitness Thomas gave interviews and spoke out at the town forum before his untimely death. Eyewitness Polly Wilson has attended several of the Justice for Woody rallies and their press conference, and her son has produced his own scholarly analysis of Sorrell's report, exposing the dishonesty and incompetence of the official investigation.