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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Defendant pleads to manslaughter charge

  • A Leavenworth man has pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter for a July 13 fatal shooting.
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  • A Leavenworth man has pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter for a July 13 fatal shooting.
    Justin M. Driscoll, 26, entered the plea Friday in Leavenworth County District Court.
    The charge stemmed from the shooting of Dick Mathis.
    According to County Attorney Todd Thompson, Mathis, 30, was shot in the face while Driscoll was holding a pistol to hand to the victim. The gun apparently went off by accident. They were traveling in a vehicle at the time. The two men had been drinking prior to the incident.
    The criminal complaint used to charge Driscoll stated the crime involved reckless behavior.
    As part of a plea agreement, an earlier theft charge was dismissed against Driscoll, and the prosecution agreed to not file an additional case against the defendant.
    The prosecution and defense will be open to make their own recommendations for sentencing.
    District Judge Gunnar Sundby told Driscoll that, under state sentencing guidelines, the defendant could face a sentence ranging from 31 to 136 months depending on criminal history.
    The sentencing guidelines would allow Sundby to place Driscoll on probation if the defendant's has a low level of criminal history and an appropriate treatment program is available.
    It appears defense attorney KiAnn McBratney will argue for probation.
    Thompson said he plans to argue for a prison sentence.
    Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 17.
    Driscoll remained in the custody of the Leavenworth County Jail at the time of his plea Friday. McBratney asked Sundby to consider a modification of bond in the case to include house arrest.
    McBratney said there are things she would like her client to do before his sentencing including a drug and alcohol evaluation and re-securing his job.
    "This is obviously a very emotional case," McBratney said.
    She said what happened was a tragedy, but the facts support that it was an accident.
    Thompson said he objected to such a bond modification.
    "It was a horrible event," he said, and the defendant is looking at prison time.
    Sundby said he would review an earlier bond screen for Driscoll before responding to McBratney's request.
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