Originally created 09/30/05

Martinez man gets 20 years in killing

A 19-year-old Martinez man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for killing his sister's boyfriend.

Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet sentenced Daniel Garcia Blackwell, of the 100 block of Shady Grove Drive in Martinez, after he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the death of Thomas Wright III. The plea was part of a negotiated agreement with the district attorney's office.

The body of Mr. Wright, 26, also of Shady Grove Drive, was found Oct. 23 by hunters about 100 feet into a wooded area off Baker Place Road with three gunshot wounds to the head.

"It is unnatural for a mother to bury her son," Mr. Wright's mother, Juanita, said at the sentencing hearing. "... He was full of dreams and ambition, and they were all dashed away by Mr. Blackwell."

Mrs. Wright requested Mr. Blackwell receive the harshest sentenced allowed by law.

"I ask the court not to show Mr. Blackwell no mercy because he did not show my son mercy," Mrs. Wright said.

Mr. Wright was last seen Oct. 9 by his girlfriend, who is Mr. Blackwell's sister, as he left home to pick up Mr. Blackwell.

Police say Mr. Blackwell shot Mr. Wright because he believed Mr. Wright struck his sister and was a danger to her, Assistant District Attorney David Parks White said at the hearing. Mr. Blackwell was arrested Nov. 11, three weeks after Mr. Wright's body was found.

Mr. Blackwell was originally indicted on two counts of murder, kidnapping, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and theft by taking, according to the indictment. The indictment accused Mr. Blackwell of stealing Mr. Wright's car, kidnapping him at gunpoint and shooting him.

Mr. Wright's girlfriend, the mother of his three children, spoke through tears on behalf of her brother at the hearing.

"He and my brother loved each other," she said of Mr. Wright.

Before receiving his sentence, Mr. Blackwell's attorney, Maureen Floyd, told the judge Mr. Blackwell was remorseful.

"I don't agree with the way things went down, but I'm sorry," Mr. Blackwell said to Mr. Wright's family.

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110 or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.


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