The narcotics investigator watched silently as the man who shot him two years ago admitted his guilt Thursday.
Richmond County sheriff's Investigator James Tredore sat with his boss, Sheriff Ronnie Strength, as the judge imposed the minimum 10-year prison sentence on Dennis Lee Richardson. Neither officer chose to speak.
"I'd like to apologize to him. I'm sorry for what happened," Mr. Richardson, 28, said in Richmond County Superior Court.
Investigator Tredore's bulletproof vest stopped a .357 Magnum bullet the night of July 12, 2001. Officers searching for cocaine had entered the Fairwood Drive home where Mr. Richardson lived. Mr. Richardson hid in his closet and fired at Investigator Tredore, the first officer through the bedroom door.
"He has faith in the court, and I'm sure the sheriff does, too," Assistant District Attorney Michael Carlson said of the officer.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Bowman asked the judge to consider leniency. Mr. Richardson had been asleep whenthe officers used his roommate's key to enter the house just after 1 a.m. Still, Mr. Richardson should have comprehended it was a drug raid and not reached for the handgun, the attorney said.
The force of the bullet knocked Investigator Tredore down. Doctors at Medical College of Georgia Hospital performed exploratory surgery after finding what looked like an entry wound on his right side. The vest had been strong enough to keep the bullet from penetrating the officer, but the bullet still punctured his body.
Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Mr. Richardson to 10 years in prison, followed by five years on probation, and fined him $2,900.
Mr. Richardson faced a maximum sentence of 41 years in prison for the charges he pleaded guilty to: aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of cocaine.
Mr. Richardson's roommate, Samuel V. Hodge, who was the target of the drug investigation the night of the shooting, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Judge Overstreet sentenced him to seven years' probation in July 2002.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.