A defendant who has been held in the Jones County jail since his April arrest is now waiting to be transported to state prison.
Reginald Damon Flowers, 21, entered a guilty plea to charges of aggravated assault and felony theft by receiving stolen property Oct. 28 in Jones County Superior Court without agreeing to a negotiated sentence in an attempt to stay out of prison.
Flowers was represented by defense attorney Jason M. Martin, and Assistant District Attorney Faith Worley was the prosecutor. Chief Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell presided over the case.
Trammell presided over a bond hearing for Flowers June 10 and had denied bond.
Worley told the court that Flowers was arrested April 29 following a shooting. She said the victim was stopped at a red light when Flowers came up behind him. The prosecutor said, when the victim did not move as soon as the light turned, Flowers blew his horn and came up beside him.
Worley said the victim flipped off Flowers, who then pulled a gun and shots were heard. She said the passenger in the car with Flowers corroborated the victim’s statement.
The gun was found in the car after the defendant was arrested and discovered to be stolen.
Martin said his client wanted to enter his plea as a first offender. He said Flowers is facing other charges in Bibb County, but he had not been convicted.
The attorney also stated that they do not dispute what happened except the statement that Flowers shot at the victim.
“He fired the shot, but he did not aim at the car or the victim,” Martin said.
The attorney added that they understand that would still be aggravated assault.
He said the aggravated assault charge in Bibb County would be dismissed after his guilty plea in Jones County.
Trammell accepted the guilty plea and then asked Worley for the state’s sentence recommendation.
Worley said the state offered 20 years with five years to serve. She said she understood that Flowers claims he was not shooting at the vehicle, but the state believes he was.
“He pulled the trigger more than once before the gun fired, and this happened while he was on bond for two charges. One of those charges is aggravated assault with a firearm,” she said.
The prosecutor said the gun used in the April shooting was stolen.
“That’s a disturbing trend within six months. It points to the lack of care for human life,” she added.
Worley stated that she believed five years to serve was appropriate.
“It gives him time to think about how his actions have affected others,” she said.
Martin again stated the defense’s opinion that Flowers was not shooting at the vehicle.
“It was clearly a bad moment. My client is the eighth of 11 children and lives at home with his mother and grandmother,” he said. “He is the caregiver for his grandmother.”
The attorney said Flowers is the pillar of the family, and several family members were in court wanting to speak.
The first of four family members told the court that Flowers is not the type of person to hurt anyone but admitted he needed some help with anger issues. The next speaker said he had no problems with the defendant, who was always obedient. Another family member wanted him to go into the military and believed he learned his lesson during the six months he had spent in jail.
The final speaker said she hopes he can have a better life for his future. “He’s a good child,” she said.
Martin asked the court not to send Flowers to prison.
“He has strong family support. His time in jail has been a wake-up call. His family relies on him,” he said.
The attorney asked for time served.
“Anything that will give him a chance for life,” he said.
Worley said one of the great tragedies of being a prosecutor is seeing young people with bright futures and loving families make choices that place all that in jeopardy.
“This was road rage against a complete stranger. Mr. Flowers fired a weapon at him,” she said.
After listening to the arguments of the attorneys and statements of family members, Trammell stated that she had all the sympathy in the world for families.
“But I’m also concerned about people driving down the road, pulling out a gun and firing shots. Someone was sitting at a red light, and he pulled out a stolen gun and shot,” she said. “That is not a mistake. You decided to pick up a gun.”
The judge said she would follow the state’s recommendation of 20 years with five years to serve in prison. She added that Flowers was to have no contact with the victim and must attend anger management classes.
The defendant was banned from Jones County, but Trammell agreed to sentence him under the First Offender Act. The judge also said the sentenced could terminate after 12 years if all the rules and conditions of probation were followed.
A report of Flowers arrest by JCSO Deputy Sgt. Marty Brownlee stated that he received a ‘be on the lookout’ alert April 28 for a gray Dodge Durango involved in a road rage incident. He said the suspect vehicle was said to have fired a handgun at the complainant in the area of Joycliff Road and Gray Highway.
Brownlee said he, along with GSP Trooper Sean Storey, and Gray Police Officers Lt. Mitch Lovick, Daniel Pointer and David Simmons worked together to locate and stop the vehicle on Gray Highway near Greene Settlement Road.
Brownlee said he informed dispatch to have the complainant wait for law enforcement at a nearby convenience store.
The Durango was spotted by Pointer and Brownlee said it was pulled over with the assistance of Storey and Lovick. He said as they approached the Durango, the odor of marijuana could be detected, coming from inside the SUV.
The sergeant said the two occupants of the car were asked to get out. He said the driver was asked several times if there was a weapon in the vehicle, and he replied “no.”
Brownlee said a Taurus .38 handgun was located under the driver’s seat, with three casings in the cylinder that had all been spent.
The officer said he asked the driver about the gun, and he said it was not his. Brownlee said a clear baggy of marijuana and a pill bottle containing more marijuana were in the center console.
The passenger was asked about the marijuana, and he claimed to have no knowledge of it.
The sergeant said Flowers, the driver, and Alexander Render were both placed under arrest. He said a check of the gun revealed that it was stolen through Bibb County.
Brownlee said Flowers was also found to have a suspended license and the Durango had no insurance.
He said Pointer met with the complainant. The victim told the officer he was stopped at a red light at Joycliff and Gray Highway when he saw the SUV approaching at a high rate of speed. The complainant said the driver of the SUV blew his horn when he did not drive forward immediately when the light turned green. The complainant said he responded by flipping off the driver.
The victim said he witnessed the driver fire a black in color pistol out of the passenger side window in his direction and contacted 911.
Brownlee said Sgt. David Little transported Render to the JCSO jail and he transported Flowers. He said when he arrived at the jail, the booking officer informed him that contraband, four marijuana roaches, were found in Render’s pockets.
The sergeant said Render was interviewed and he confirmed the victim’s statements.
“He stated that Flowers drove to the left of the vehicle, pulling a pistol from underneath the driver’s seat. He stated that Flowers pulled the trigger at least twice before the gun went off,” Brownlee said. “Mr. Render did complain of having an earache due to the shot being so close to his head and in an enclosed area.”
The officer said the way the casings were spaced in the cylinder of the gun explained why the trigger had to be pulled more than once to fire. He said Render told him that until the weapon was pulled, he did not know Flowers had a gun.
Brownlee said Render was issued a citation for possession of marijuana and warrants were secured for the charges against Flowers.