A Gillsville man had the most serious charges dismissed in a case of a “drug deal that went horrendously wrong” when another man lost his eye, according to his attorney Blake Poole.
Johnathan William Owens entered a plea deal on a charge of conspiracy to commit distribution of a controlled substance. Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin handed down a sentence of 12 years, with four of those years in incarceration. The rest can be on probation.
Owens and co-defendants Evan Edsel Dorsey, of Buford, and Richard Brian Sosebee, of Lula, were charged with attempted murder, among other serious charges, in a December indictment.
The district attorney’s office agreed to not prosecute on any other charges for Owens.
According to Gainesville Police, the three men allegedly met with a man for a drug deal Oct. 29 at Harrison Square in Gainesville.
The man was subsequently shot, exploding his eye, according to investigator Brad Raper.
All three men were also charged with armed robbery in the December indictment, but Assistant District Attorney Kelley Robertson said Tuesday it would be “more tenuous to show Owens” knew of any alleged armed robbery plan.
Robertson asked the judge to give a 15-year sentence with five of those years in incarceration, while Poole asked for two or three years behind bars on a 10-year sentence. Poole asked the judge to consider allowing Owens to have local treatment options.
“I want something productive to come out of this,” Poole said.
Family members in the courtroom said Owens is a good man who got caught up in a bad situation.
“I think it was an appropriate reduction of the charges. We’re disappointed with the initial indictment, but think that the charges imposed and the sentence imposed are just under the circumstances,” Poole said following sentencing.
Gosselin allowed Owens to have credit for time served, which would be almost a full year. He would also be enrolled in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program.
Following the alleged shooting, Raper said Dorsey was driving a car with Sosebee as a passenger that was pursued by law enforcement.
Dorsey entered a plea agreement Sept. 13 that also dismissed the attempted murder and armed robbery charges, as well as the majority of the alleged traffic offenses.
He was given a 20-year sentence with the first 10 years in confinement on charges of aggravated battery and violation of the street gang terrorism statute.
Dorsey’s attorney Lee Parks did not return a request for comment.
Sosebee’s case is still open, and his attorney did not return a request for comment.