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HILLSVILLE — David Richardson will serve 13 years, with four suspended, for the shooting death of a Carroll County man, Judge Brett Geisler ruled during a sentencing hearing in Carroll County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
The jury had recommended nine years for the defendant, who was convicted of first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling.
Richardson fired three shots in a May 18, 2010 incident that resulted in the death of Bryon Jordan Wilson.
That day, in the Coal Creek community, Richardson arrived at a party, during which horseplay turned violent and led to the death of Wilson.
During the trial, Carroll Commonwealth’s Attorney Nathan Lyons called 12 witnesses and forensic experts to discuss the facts of the case.
Defense attorney Jonathan Venzie argued Richardson’s actions constituted self-defense because Wilson first attacked him with a wrench.
According to witness Jessica Hawks, Wilson head-butted Richardson in the chest, and the fight escalated. After an exchange of hits, Richardson asked Wilson if he wanted to take the fight outside.
Wilson grabbed a wrench, and he followed Richardson into a bathroom. Hawks said she heard thuds from the bathroom and then gunfire.
Chris Blevins, another witness, testified that he thought Wilson hit Richardson with the wrench in the head several times, and Richardson tried to block the blows.
After Richardson fired three shots, Wilson came out of the bathroom and fell to the floor. Richardson then walked out of the home.
Wilson died of a gunshot wound to the chest.
During the sentencing hearing, Venzie asked the judge to set aside the verdict because Richardson’s actions were done in self-defense.
Lyons said that was not appropriate for this case, because the 12-person jury deliberated for three hours before coming to the decision. Setting aside the verdict, Lyons said, would be disregarding the jury’s decision.
The case was tried over two days, and Venzie asked jury candidates questions for over an hour to select jurors. Therefore, the jury was not biased, said Lyons.
Venzie argued that Richardson acted in self-defense and showed restraint after he was hit by Wilson. Richardson had to receive 12 staples as a result of his head injuries.
Amy Brooks, who works for the state’s probation office, took the stand and noted that Richardson had several convictions on his criminal record, drug- and alcohol-related charges and assault and battery charges.
During a psychological evaluation, performed in 2006 when Richardson was 16 or 17 years old, it was noted that if Richardson would have possibly been diagnosed with a psychological disorder if the evaluation was done in later years.
Richardson took the stand during the sentencing hearing and apologized to Wilson’s family.
“Bryon was my friend, and if I could bring him back I would,” Richardson said.
Geisler told Venzie that he felt that Richardson had received a fair trial and that the evidence provided during the trial supported the jury’s conclusion.
After going into recess and reviewing the case, the judge denied Venzie’s motion.