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Gillsville man sentenced for shooting man in the leg

A Gillsville man was sentenced to nine years in prison for shooting a man in his leg when firing shots in the direction of nine people, including children, according to court documents.

Emilio Daniel Moran, 24, was charged in a November 2021 13-count indictment with aggravated battery, nine counts of aggravated assault and three counts of third-degree child cruelty from the Aug. 5, 2021 shooting.

Moran pleaded guilty Monday, Nov. 21, and was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin to 20 years with the first nine years in prison. She granted him credit for time served since last year and allowed the remainder of the case to be served on probation.

He was also charged in April with aggravated assault for driving a car into another car in June 2021. That case was closed out at the same time, and the sentence will run concurrently with the aggravated battery case.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Shuler said there was a “clear escalation” between Moran’s cases leading to the Aug. 5, 2021, shooting that happened at a family gathering with roughly a dozen people in attendance.

“I don’t know where that escalation stops,” Shuler said. “I hope it stops at this case. I hope that this is the last case, but I don’t know that it will be. And I have huge concerns about Mr. Moran being out in the community.” 

Moran had recently ended a romantic relationship with a woman, but her family still took him under their wing despite the break-up, Shuler said.

Shuler said Moran and the woman began arguing, and the woman’s brother asked him to leave.

“It’s at that point that Mr. Moran backs up and racks his handgun … and shot two to three shots at that point,” Shuler said. “Now keep in mind everyone else who lives at the residence or is over there is around to see much of this.”

Of those three shots, only one hit another man at the gathering. The man did not suffer any life-threatening injuries.

Shuler said Moran fired two more shots and ran from the scene.

Moran had been in Gosselin’s court before as a participant in the Health, Empowerment Linkage and Possibilities Court, commonly referred to as a mental health treatment court. His attorney, Chris van Rossem, said Moran did not graduate from the program.

Gosselin said the case was difficult for her because Moran was a likable person in her court.

But the behavior was “extremely dangerous and serious,” the judge said.

“What if one of the children had gotten hit with that shot?” Gosselin asked. 

The prosecution recommended a sentence of 20 years with the first 15 years in custody.

“I don’t know what else we can do for Mr. Moran at this point aside from putting him in custody for a long period of time,” Shuler said. “We’ve given him every opportunity we could on probation, outside of custody. We’ve tried to work with him, but we haven’t gotten anywhere, judge.”

Asking for less time behind bars, van Rossem said his client is an intelligent person with compassion, but there is an anger and trauma inside him that needs to be addressed.

Moran would do well with structure like that offered in the Re-entry Accountability Court Transition program, which focuses on vocational training and job placement, van Rossem said.

Van Rossem said he felt the sentence addressed the severity of what happened but gave Moran “an opportunity for a more productive path forward” whenever he finishes his custodial sentence.