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Man gets 8 years in Hagerstown shooting

November 10, 1997

Man gets 8 years in Hagerstown shooting

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Navarre Sowell told a judge Monday that he shot another man last year in Hagerstown out of fear, not hatred.

Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone sentenced Sowell, 21, formerly of Martinsburg, W.Va., to serve eight years in prison on his guilty plea to first-degree assault. Boone also sentenced him to a three-year concurrent term for carrying a handgun with intent to injure.

Charges of attempted second-degree murder, second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment were dropped in exchange for the pleas.

The victim, Antonio Leon Mooney, 22, of Hagerstown, was taken to Washington County Hospital shortly after the 9:39 p.m. shooting on Dec. 19, 1996, in the 900 block of West Washington Street. He had been shot in the back, the right side and the leg.

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Deputy State's Attorney Charles Strong told Boone that Mooney spent several weeks in the hospital and had a colostomy because of his injuries.

Mooney was in the courtroom Monday morning but left when the proceeding was postponed until the afternoon.

Strong said Mooney approached a car occupied by Sowell and a woman and pulled open the driver's side door. Shots were fired as Mooney stood there and then attempted to run away.

Sowell fled the scene in the car and was later apprehended in Martinsburg.

"He had no right to have a gun and no permit for the gun he had,'' Strong said, noting that Sowell is a convicted felon who had been released from a federal prison just a month earlier.

"There has been an increase, an escalation in violence in Hagerstown,'' Strong said. "We have to step in and give appropriate incarceration.''

Boone first imposed a 15-year sentence on Sowell, suspending all but eight years.

Defense attorney Carl Creeden said the woman in the car that night was the mother of Sowell's daughter, a child he had come to visit for Christmas.

That woman also had a relationship with Mooney while Sowell was in federal prison on a drug distribution conviction, Creeden said.

Sowell now faces up to three more years of prison time on that sentence.

Boone ordered that Sowell be placed on probation for two years once he is released from prison. He was given credit for time served since last December.

Maximum possible penalty for first-degree assault was 25 years in prison, and five years for the handgun violation.

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