Pierre teenager convicted of murder is sentenced
PIERRE (AP) -- A Pierre teenager convicted of killing a classmate following what authorities said was an argument over a paintball game was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison with 15 suspended.
PIERRE (AP) - A Pierre teenager convicted of killing a classmate following what authorities said was an argument over a paintball game was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years in prison with 15 suspended.
Braiden McCahren, 18, also received 10 years in prison for an aggravated assault charge. The sentences are to be served at the same time.
Sixth Circuit Judge John Brown gave McCahren credit for the more than 450 days that he has already been in custody, meaning he will be eligible for parole after nine years.
Jurors in adult court in September convicted McCahren of second-degree murder in the December 2012 death of 16-year-old Dalton Williams in McCahren's home. McCahren was 16 at the time but was tried as an adult.
Authorities said the shooting happened after an argument about a paintball incident. McCahren also was convicted of aggravated assault for pointing a shotgun at another classmate and pulling the trigger. The gun did not fire.
Defense attorney Mike Butler reiterated that he will appeal the conviction to the South Dakota Supreme Court. The defense maintains that Williams' death was a tragic accident.
Brown last month rejected a defense motion to set aside the jury verdict.
McCahren was found not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting of Williams and not guilty of attempted murder in the threat against the second classmate. The second-degree murder conviction required that the jury find McCahren acted without regard for human life. Unlike a first-degree murder conviction, it did not require prosecutors to prove premeditation.
McCahren's attorneys have said their client didn't have the opportunity to present a defense to the lesser charge, violating his rights, and that will be the basis for the appeal.
The mandatory sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison, but because he was a juvenile at the time, McCahren was able to receive a lesser sentence and was made eligible for parole.