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Hagerstown man gets more prison time in W.Va. drive-by shooting

August 18, 2009

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- The gunman in an April 2008 drive-by shooting of a witness who testified in a federal drug trial received more prison time in Berkeley County Circuit Court on Monday.

Ordered to serve 63 months in federal prison in February for his role in the shooting, Travis Jackson Latta, 22, of Hagerstown, now is expected to serve a one- to five-year sentence for one count of conspiracy to commit murder, followed by a one-year jail sentence for battery of a correctional officer.

The consecutive sentencing terms were ordered Monday by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III after Latta entered guilty pleas to the charges. The state trial court-ordered sentencing terms will be served consecutively to the federal sentence, Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely confirmed after the hearing.

The battery charge stemmed from an incident involving a correctional officer after Latta was incarcerated last spring, Games-Neely said.

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Additional counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of carrying a concealed weapon were dismissed because of similarities with the federal case that was filed against Latta after the shooting, Games-Neely said.

Latta was accused of firing a 9 mm pistol at a van driven by the victim, who was not injured, police have said.

Bullets were found lodged in the van's passenger seats and in the tire after the shooting, which happened on April 30, 2008, when the victim was driving home from work, officials have said.

In October 2008, Latta entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court in Martinsburg to attempting to kill a man in retaliation for the witness' testimony at a federal trial in August 2007. Latta was sentenced by federal Judge John Preston Bailey in February 2009.

Co-defendant Matthew Quinn Mason of Falling Waters, W.Va., was sentenced in federal court in April to 95 months in prison for his role in the drive-by shooting.

The defendant in the federal trial, Cecil Ray Jr. of Philadelphia, was sentenced by Bailey to life in prison in November 2007. Federal authorities described Ray as a major supplier of crack cocaine in Martinsburg, according to court records.

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