The 17-year-old woman partially paralyized by Xavion Holland didn't want to prosecute the man who shot her July 4 as she was riding in her car, his attorney said.
Holland, however, chose to stop his trial Tuesday and plead guilty to five counts of aggravated assault and five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
The 20-year-old Columbus man initially faced one to 20 years on each assault count. Muscogee County Superior Court Judge Bill Smith sentenced him to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years probation, said Assistant District Attorney Wesley Lambertus.
Holland had five other people in his green Kia around 8 p.m. when he pulled a gun and fired shots at four people on the side of the road near 42 Stonewall Drive, Lambertus said. None of those people were hit, though 17-year-old Kiara Simmons, who was sitting behind Holland with her head out the window screaming obscenities, was struck, the prosecutor said.
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"She was shot in the head, but she survived," Lambertus said.
The prosecutor added that Simmons has some paralysis on her left side and difficulties walking and using her left arm.
Defense attorney Alonza Whitaker said Simmons, the only one hit, didn't want his client prosecuted. Holland, though, knew he potentially faced more time in prison and decided to enter a non-negotiated guilty plea.
"He was shooting out of the window as he was driving away because he thought he heard shots were fired," Whitaker said.
Holland, who remained incarcerated after his July arrest, spoke with his parents Monday night and Tuesday morning, told Whitaker of his decision to plead before Lambertus had finished his case. Whitaker said Lambertus had another one or two witnesses to present, after which he would have put on one defense witness.
"It's unfortunate that our youth today feel like that's how they have to resolve disputes and problems," Whitaker said.