PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Phoenix City Council meeting on renovations to Talking Stick Resort Arena took a strange turn Wednesday when a man convicted of a politically motivated shooting addressed council members, all while his victim was in the audience.
Larry Naman told council members that funding renovations to the arena without a public vote would be “the equivalent of a bloody act of violence against the public.”
Naman spent nearly 12 years in prison for shooting and wounding then-county supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox in 1997. He said he carried out the shooting because he felt supervisors had circumvented the public's will when the board voted for a sales tax to fund the Diamondbacks stadium.
"The public voted and said no baseball stadium. [The supervisors] turned around and said 'too bad,'" he said in an interview after the meeting.
"A baseball stadium is not justification for murder, sir," I told him.
"Again, I deliberately tried to injure her," not kill her, Naman contended. Naman was convicted of attempted murder.
Wilcox, a former Phoenix city councilwoman before her tenure as a supervisor, said she had no idea Naman would be at Wednesday’s meeting.
“When you get shot and you get a gun put to your back and you know you might die, it's very traumatic. And I just thought, ‘Oh my god, here we go again,’” she said in an interview.
Wilcox attended Wednesday’s meeting to speak in favor of the renovations. She served on the Phoenix City Council in the late 1980s and voted to establish the tourism taxes that will fund the upgrades.
“In my mind, I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, do not get scared city council.’ All this man wanted was attention,” she said.
After more than three hours of discussion by council members, residents and business leaders, the measure was approved by a 6-2 vote.
Following the vote, reporters asked Naman if he planned to do anything about it.
“I don't know. I'm not saying what's in my mind on that subject,” he said.