Plea Deal for fatal shooting in Dalton
Devon Rapheal Wheeler fired the gun but then it gets tricky
DALTON, Georgia (WDEF) – There was no doubt that Devon Raphael Wheeler fired the gun that killed Rashad Goldston.
But just how guilty was he?
Wheeler entered a guilty plea on Friday to Voluntary Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault, instead of murder.
Prosecutors admitted the circumstances may have made it hard to convince a jury he was guilty of a murder charge.
In started back in April with a fight outside The Oyster Pub & Grill at the Outlet Mall in Dalton.
Wheeler and another man “took it outside.”
Wheeler punched Andy Johnson once, almost knocking him out.
Then again as others tried to help him up.
That’s when Johnson’s cousin entered the story.
Rashad Goldston pulled his vehicle up to the scene to get his cousin out of there.
But he pulled a gun and brandished it at Wheeler and the crowd.
But Wheeler pulled a gun of his own, so Goldston tried to drive away.
Prosecutors say Wheeler went after him and fired several shots at him.
One of those shots went into the vehicle and hit Goldston in the back.
The vehicle wrecked and Goldston died.
Wheeler fled the scene but was captured and arrested two days later in Marietta.
The legal question was whether he acted in self defense, since Goldston produced a weapon first.
Prosecutors believe “While Wheeler was clearly the primary aggressor, and neither his assault on Johnson nor his shooting of Goldston were justified, Goldston’s actions did escalate the confrontation leading to his own death. ”
They thought a jury might see it differently.
So they plead the charges to Voluntary Manslaughter, Aggravated Assault, Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Crime and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Wheeler has prior convictions in Hamilton county for cocaine possession and theft.
Under the deal, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for the manslaughter and 30 years of probation for the rest.