A 34-year-old man was given a 25-year prison sentence for a September 2016 fatal shooting on Athens Street in Gainesville.
Darvis Donquan Bledson accepted a negotiated plea for voluntary manslaughter. The first 25 years of his 50-year sentence will be in prison, and the final 25 years can be on probation.
Bledson was charged with shooting Terry Jerome Maddox, 30, of Gainesville, Sept. 9, 2016. Maddox was shot multiple times and died at the scene
“You have changed our lives forever,” the victim’s mother Landa Maddox said.
The victim’s parents and extended family shared their testimony with Superior Court Judge Andrew Fuller Monday afternoon before the plea was finalized.
Terry Maddox’s family members have described him as a funny, giving person who was trying to make something out of himself. His parents said he wasn’t able to see his youngest children crawl or walk.
Investigators and others close to Maddox said there was speculation surrounding Terry Maddox being involved in the death of Ricko Bledson. Jasmine Stephens, who dated Maddox for four years, denied the allegation in an interview with The Times last year.
Ricko Bledson, 39, died Aug. 6, 2016, after suffering a single gunshot wound to his chest.
Defense attorney Matt Leipold said the Bledson family has its own “hole in their heart” because of the loss of Ricko Bledson, where no suspects have been publicly identified.
In the negotiated plea, Bledson was sentenced on an amended charge of voluntary manslaughter, which was originally malice murder.
“We are satisfied with the closure of the case and hope the families can move forward after this most difficult time,” Leipold said in a statement following sentencing.
Fuller said he hoped the disposition of the case “will bring some closure and hopefully bring some peace of mind to the Maddox family.”
“The negotiated plea in this case was appropriate for the circumstances, as explained in court,” Northeastern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Lee Darragh said.