Georgia man sentenced to 10 years in prison for teenage girl’s road death

STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) — A biracial man who says he was repelling a racist attack on a Georgia highway when he fired a gun at a moving van and killed a teenage passenger was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison.

A judge has imposed the maximum prison sentence on Marc Wilson, 23, who was convicted of manslaughter last month by a Bulloch County jury in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Haley Hutcheson. Prosecutors had unsuccessfully sought a murder conviction.

Wilson’s lawyers insisted at his trial in August that the shooting was justified in self-defense when the van driver tried to run Wilson’s car off the road during the summer of 2020. Prosecutors argued that Wilson had no legal basis for shooting a handgun in traffic and could have escaped if he had been harassed by another driver.

Superior Court Judge Ronnie Thompson denied clemency requests from Wilson’s attorneys, who noted that he had no prior criminal record. The judge said Wilson will receive credit for the 20 months he has already served in prison awaiting trial, media reported.

Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Wilson fired the shot that killed Hutcheson, of Reidsville, on a bypass surrounding the town of Statesboro in southeast Georgia on the night of June 24, 2020. The One of the bullets he fired pierced the rear window of the truck and hit Hutcheson in the head. . She died after her friends rushed her to hospital.

Wilson surrendered and surrendered his gun to police three days after the shooting.

Prosecutors had charged Wilson with felony murder, arguing that he caused Hutcheson’s death by committing another crime – aggravated assault – by firing his gun at the truck. The jury acquitted Wilson of both charges and found him guilty of manslaughter.

FILE – This undated photo provided by the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office shows Marc Wilson, of Sharpsburg, Ga. Wilson was charged with killing a 17-year-old girl in a highway shooting after opening fire from his car in self-defense after the pickup truck in which the girl was a passenger tried to force him off the road, a defense attorney told a jury as his murder trial opened on Wednesday 24 August 2022. (Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

If Wilson had been convicted of murder, he would have been automatically sentenced to life in prison.

Wilson – the son of a black father and a white mother – and his white girlfriend had just picked up food from a Taco Bell around 12:30 p.m. when the van pulled up next to the much larger Ford Focus small of Wilson. Wilson told police the van tried to run his car off the road as white teenagers inside shouted racial slurs.

The driver of the van and two passengers who took the witness stand denied threatening or otherwise provoking Wilson. They also admitted to drinking that night, but denied being drunk.

Emma Rigdon, Wilson’s girlfriend at the time, testified that she had not heard any racial slurs prior to the shooting. She recalled, however, being spooked when the van “started to swerve into our lane” and forced Wilson’s car onto the shoulder of the freeway.

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