More than 1,300 people have signed a petition calling for the release of an Alabama man who was sentenced to 40 years in prison after fatally shooting the man convicted of molesting his daughter.
Jay Maynor, 43, pleaded guilty on Monday to the first-degree murder of Raymond Earl Brooks in 2014.
He told his daughter, Julia Maynor, that he took the plea deal so that Julia wouldn’t have to go through the trauma of testifying about the abuse she endured during the murder trial.
“Jay is not a threat to society,” the Change.org petition says. The petition is addressed to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and President Barack Obama.
“He is a good man. We would like to see him set free or at minimum a lesser sentence.”
Also on Monday, Jay pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted murder for shooting at a different man he believed had dated and physically abused his stepdaughter, according to court documents. The victim was not hurt and is not facing criminal charges.
Julia was about 4 years old when she was first molested by Raymond Earl Brooks — her grandfather through adoption. The molestation continued for several years, and came to light when Julia was 8 years old, according to multiple reports.
Brooks pleaded guilty to the molestation in 2002. He was sentenced to five years in prison but served just 27 months of his sentence before being placed on probation, according to court records obtained by PEOPLE.
He was then placed on the Alabama sex offender registry.
Julia, now a 24-year-old mother of three, said the abuse has had a lifelong effect on her. (She could not be reached by PEOPLE.)
“He took my innocence away, and now I suffer daily from what Raymond did to me,” she told AL.com.
• With STEVE HELLING