A Lula man was sentenced to 15 years behind bars in a methamphetamine case where he was accused of driving his car at the officers investigating him, according to court officials.
At sentencing Monday, May 24, James Eugene Shockley, 34, was given 20 years with the first 15 years to be served in prison. The remainder may be served on probation, according to the sentence imposed by Superior Court Judge C. Andrew Fuller.
Shockley faced trial on four counts of aggravated assault upon a peace officer from an incident in February 2019 but was convicted of lesser charges. Shockley was accused of striking patrol vehicles occupied by officers during the course of a Multi-Agency Narcotics Squad investigation.
Defense attorney Matt Leipold said Shockley had prior drug convictions that led to harsher sentencing.
According to the terms of probation, Shockley will have to provide proof of evaluation and/or treatment for mental health and substance abuse while also avoiding alcohol and drugs.
Assistant Public Defender Sarah Willis led the defense with assistance from Leipold.
“I think the jury reached a verdict that speaks the truth,” Leipold said. “They found that he did obstruct the officers in a manner that involved violence but it did not rise to the level of an aggravated assault.”
At the time of Shockley’s arrest, Lt. Don Scalia said Shockley tried to drive away from law enforcement but struck a MANS unit vehicle and a marked vehicle from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office’s warrant division.
On each aggravated assault count, the jury was allowed to consider three less serious offenses of obstruction of a peace officer, reckless driving and simple assault.
The jury returned a guilty verdict May 6, but on the three lesser offenses for each aggravated assault count.
Shockley was also found guilty of possession of methamphetamine but acquitted on possession of meth with intent to distribute.
The jury also convicted on two counts of interference with government property and having no proof of insurance.