Monday, July 26, 2010
Man gets 7 years for shooting
A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a daytime shooting that left two people injured.
Daniel Johnston, 26, admitted Monday to firing several shots from a .45-caliber pistol during a May 2009 noon-hour brawl outside a West Kildonan home.
Johnston and two friends had gone to the St. John’s Avenue home looking to settle a score with another man, court was told. One of his friends then got into a physical fight with the target of their anger, prompting Johnston to pull out the handgun, turn it sideways and begin shooting.
One of the bullets struck the intended target in the lower leg, while another hit Johnston’s friend in the same area.
Two other shots hit the ground and window of the home.
"The bullets were going everywhere," said Crown attorney Rustyn Ullrich.
Johnston fled the scene and discarded the weapon, which was never found by police. He was originally charged with attempted murder, but lawyers agreed Monday to a reduced plea to discharging a firearm with intent.
Ullrich said the victim of the shooting was not co-operative with police and justice officials and didn’t want to testify. Defence lawyer Saheel Zaman told court the man may have been armed with a knife during the initial fight, which could have allowed Johnston to plead self-defence.
Johnston has an extensive prior criminal record and was on probation and a weapons ban at the time of the shooting.
"He is well travelled in the criminal justice system and not entitled to any leniency," said Ullrich.
Johnston has spent the past 14 months in custody, which was given double-time credit of 28 months under the joint-recommendation from lawyers. He was then sentenced to another four years, eight months behind bars and put on a lifetime weapons prohibition.
I would like to know more about the defence lawyers' arguments and the mitigating factors surrounding the defendant, such as poverty, addictions, mental illness, peer influences, etc. This man could have acted in self defence.