Note: This story appears in the Tuesday, Aug. 13 newspaper on Page A1.
A Glouster man charged in last year’s shooting death of Charles Duncan Sr. of Athens has been sentenced to 19 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and other offenses.
In addition to involuntary manslaughter, 19-year-old Michael Russell pleaded guilty last week to robbery, receiving stolen property and having a weapon while under disability.
Duncan, 55, was killed when a shot was fired through a door at his West Washington Street residence, and prosecutors have said Russell was the shooter. They also have said the shooting occurred during an attempt to collect money owed by Duncan for methamphetamine.
The guilty plea was the result of an agreement in which prosecutors dismissed a murder charge and a charge of aggravated robbery. In exchange, there was a joint recommendation from the prosecution and defense that Athens County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Lang sentence Russell to 19 years in prison. Three years of the 19-year sentence are mandatory, according to the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.
The prosecution also agreed not to oppose judicial release after 13 1/2 years are served, on the conditions that Russell get a favorable report from prison and abide by the terms of the plea agreement. Those terms included that Russell cooperate in matters involving his co-defendants, including testifying truthfully in court.
When he gets out of prison, Russell will be subject to five years of post-release control.
The 19-year sentence consists of 10 years for involuntary manslaughter plus 3 years on a gun specification, one year for having a weapon under disability (drug dependence), four years for robbery and one year for receiving stolen property, all to be served consecutively.
The robbery charge alleged that Russell attempted to steal the drug money from Duncan while having a gun in his possession, while the receiving stolen property alleged that the gun used in the shooting was stolen property, according to County Assistant Prosecutor Elizabeth Pepper.
In addition to Russell, prosecutors have alleged that two other people were present at the shooting of Duncan — Bernard Mitchell, 23, of Athens, and Jonathon McLaughlin of Glouster.
Mitchell pleaded guilty in December to involuntary manslaughter and seven other felony charges and was sentence to 24 years in prison, with prosecutors agreeing not to oppose judicial release after 12 years are served if conditions are met.
McLaughlin pleaded guilty in December to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, having weapons under disability, aggravated trafficking in drugs and burglary. He was sentenced to 18 years, with prosecutor’s agreeing not to oppose judicial release after nine years are served, also if conditions are met.
Two other defendants are charged with murder and involuntary manslaughter in connection with Duncan’s death, as well as facing other felony charges. The cases against Robert “Drew” Martin, 27, Glouster, and Troy Vermillon II, 29, of Athens, are still pending in common pleas court. Prosecutors have said Martin and Vermillion were not present at the shooting, but have alleged they were involved in trafficking methamphetamine.