- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

GOODING, Idaho (AP) - A man who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his son-in-law has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Jimmie O’Neal Sr., 62, was sentenced Tuesday, The Times-News reported (https://bit.ly/2pFaO9q ).

O’Neal is eligible for parole after six years.

His attorney had requested probation and prosecutors wanted three to 10 years, but District Judge Eric Wildman rejected both arguments.

“In this case, you crossed a significant threshold,” Wildman said to O’Neal. “Because of the egregiousness of the offense, this is not a probation case. The state’s suggestion is even too light.”

O’Neal pleaded guilty earlier this year to voluntary manslaughter. He maintained his innocence, but admitted prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him. O’Neal has consistently said he shot Steven Michael Lawrence, 34, accidentally during an argument about Lawrence’s continued abuse of O’Neal’s daughter.

Wildman said O’Neal intended to commit violence against Lawrence despite his claim of the shooting being accidental.

“You bring a gun, not because it happens to be in your pocket, but because you know he carries a gun,” Wildman said to O’Neal “You were fully prepared to engage in a shootout.

“I reject the argument you didn’t go to do harm. You’re a 62-year-old man with health issues, and he knows Jiu Jitsu. I don’t know what you were planning on doing. So whether or not you tripped, your behavior was so reckless that the consequence of your actions should have come as no surprise.”

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Information from: The Times-News, https://www.magicvalley.com


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