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Man gets 15-years in prison for shooting incident

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

A Gaffney man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for shooting into an occupied car on the early morning hours of July 5, 2019.

Joel T. Dawkins, Jr., 23, was sentenced Monday following a guilty plea to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, 3 counts assault and battery in the first degree, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and hit and run with property damage. Circuit Judge Keith Kelly presided over the case.

The shooting occurred near the intersection of Granite Drive and Annette Street in Cherokee County. Dawkins was driving a black Nissan when he collided with a Hyundai occupied by four young women. Dawkins continued driving a short distance down the road before pausing.

The driver of the Hyundai told Gaffney police she put her car in reverse with hopes of recording the license plate number of the car that hit her. Before being able to get the license plate, Dawkins fired seven gunshots at and into the car based upon shell casings collected at the scene.

The back window of the Hyundai was shattered and one of the back seat passengers was hit in the face by the gunfire. She was rushed to a local hospital and transferred to Spartanburg Medical Center.

The occupants of the Hyundai identified Dawkins as the driver of the Nissan, and they said the wreck and the shooting may have evolved from a verbal dispute earlier in the evening between Dawkins and a person who was not inside the vehicle. Police arrested Dawkins on July 18, 2019, in possession of the 9mm handgun used in this shooting.

“I am thankful none of the young women lost their life that night, but one victim has a permanent reminder of the violent, reckless, and senseless acts of Mr. Dawkins,” Deputy Solicitor Kim Leskanic said.

Dawkins’ prior criminal record includes convictions for second-degree domestic violence and unlawful carrying of a weapon. Dawkins will serve 85 percent of the 15-year sentence before being eligible for parole. 

 

 

 

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