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Two sentenced for lying about 2011 shooting

Posted: January 31, 2013 - 3:32pm  |  Updated: January 31, 2013 - 5:04pm

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Two Augusta teens charged with lying to police about a fatal 2011 shooting pled guilty Thursday.

Brandon Devon Berry, 19, and Morreio Demetrius Carswell, 19, were charged with making false statements in connection with the March 19, 2011, shooting that killed 19-year-old James Sterling Gillette Jr. at the Belair Conference Center.

The teens pled guilty at a sentencing hearing Thursday to obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Superior Court Judge Michael Annis sentenced the teens each to a year on probation, with credit for time they’d already served in jail. Berry served a total of about seven months and Carswell served more than two months.

On Wednesday, Johndrick Lors Levert Barnes, 21, of Augusta, pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He was originally charged with murder. Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Barnes to five years in prison, with credit for the nearly two years he’s already served, followed by two years probation and a $1,000 fine at the hearing at the Columbia County Justice Center in Evans.

Gillette was an employee of the conference center working a 16th birthday party for one of James Brown’s granddaughters. Word of the party spread and about 200 people showed up. Fights broke out inside, so guests were ushered outside. Gillette was holding the door for people to go outside when shooting started in the parking lot.

Barnes fired a .380 pistol into the air and a bullet hit Gillette.

Assistant District Attorney Rex Myers said he doesn’t believe the shooting was intentional.

Three others also were charged with making false statements to authorities. Deandre Tyrell Jones pled guilty in October 2011 and a 16-year-old pled guilty in Juvenile Court in July 2011.

The case against Jordan Dashawn Harrison, who is also charged with making false statements, is still pending.

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