September 6, 2012
HAZARD – Tracy Napier, the man who in July was found guilty of assault in the shooting of another man two years ago, received a sentence Thursday to serve up to a decade in prison.
Napier, 38, was arrested and charged with attempted murder in September 2010 after he shot and seriously injured another man identified as Carl Holbrook several times during a confrontation near Napier’s home in Bonnyman.
The case went before a jury in 2011, though the judge declared a mistrial before the jury could return a verdict. A second trial was held in July, during which the jury convicted Napier of a lesser charge of first-degree assault, recommending the minimum of 10 years to serve.
Napier was back in Perry Circuit Court on Thursday where his attorney, John Hansen, argued a motion to throw out the jury’s verdict and asked for a new trial, saying that, among other things, the evidence in the case did not support a guilty verdict.
“We have a conclusion that is not consistent with the evidence of this case,” Hansen said.
Hansen contended throughout both trials that the shooting in 2010 was a clear-cut case of self-defense, and that Napier had the right to stand his ground on his own property.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Teresa Reed, however, argued at the trial and again on Thursday that “there was ample evidence,” such as the placement of the shell casings and witness testimony, to uphold the jury’s verdict.
Judge William Engle ultimately denied Hansen’s motion, and proceeded to hand down the sentence in the case, but not before he allowed family members on both sides to speak in court. Napier’s mother pleaded with Engle to reduce the sentence, while Holbrook’s father urged him to sentence Napier using the jury’s recommendation.
While noting that the jury recommended the minimum sentence for the charge, and convicted Napier of a lesser charge than he was initially indicted, Engle sentenced Napier to serve a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Judge Engle also noted that Napier does have the right to appeal his conviction, and Hansen indicated after the trial that there likely will be an appeal.