Terrance Lamar Lawson, 20, apologized for the suffering he caused the victim and his family. He also told the judge that he plans to spend the next 10 years making improvements in his life.
Prosecutors allege that Lawson went looking for the victim in April after a confrontation between the man and Lawson's girlfriend. He found the man at a church parking lot in Snohomish and pulled out a gun. Lawson, a convicted felon, fired on him, striking the victim at least three times. One bullet hit the man in the chest.
Lawson and his girlfriend attempted to hide from police. They surrendered once officers surrounded their hideout and flushed out some of their friends.
The victim's mother told the judge Thursday that her son was "hunted down like an animal" all over a rumor. Her son is recovering from his physical injuries, but the shooting has changed him.
"I'm glad this is in your hands, not mine," the woman said.
As part of plea negotiations, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Tobin Darrow dropped the firearm enhancement that would have added a mandatory five years to any prison sentence. That wasn't a decision taken lightly, Darrow said. A trial likely would have been hampered by a lack of cooperation from key witnesses, including the shooting victim, the prosecutor said.
Darrow and the defense recommended a mid-range sentence. Superior Court Judge George Bowden agreed with the recommendation, saying that he didn't believe giving Lawson the maximum sentence under the law -- an extra 18 months -- would make the community any safer.
The defendant is either going to take advantage of his time in prison and better himself or he's not, Bowden said.
"I don't see that the community's protection is enhanced for another 18 months, especially at the cost to taxpayers," the judge said.
Bowden also acknowledged that the charging documents indicate that Lawson's girlfriend shares some responsibility for what happened.
Prosecutors are reviewing the case against her.
Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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