CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A former Fort Campbell soldier who was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of his wife was sentenced to six years in prison on Tuesday.
Jonathan Clyde Downing, 35, testified at his trial last October that he shot his wife, Sena Downing, 10 times after she provoked him during an argument at their home in Clarksville on Sept. 8, 2009. He said he didn't plan on it and had no memory of shooting her.
Police had charged him with first-degree murder, but a jury returned a conviction on the lesser included charge of voluntary manslaughter.
During his sentencing hearing Tuesday, The Leaf-Chronicle (http://leafne.ws/YXT88C ) reports that Judge John H. Gasaway gave him the maximum possible sentence of six years.
"Confinement is necessary to avoid depreciating the seriousness of the offense. A person's life was taken. It doesn't get more serious than that," Gasaway said. "This was a situation where Mr. and Mrs. Downing had a volatile relationship. They argued quite a bit of the time. Based on the evidence that was introduced at trial, she was getting physical with him. He denied getting physical with her, but there was a witness who testified contrary to that assertion."
Downing was the only person to testify in the sentencing hearing. He said he had thought about how his actions affected Sena's family.
"The event in its entirety ... regret is not even a word that begins to cover the way I feel about it," he said.
Jeff Grimes, Downing's defense attorney, asked for an alternative sentence, time served or probation, but Kimberly Lund, assistant district attorney, argued that Downing should serve the maximum sentence.
"As in many domestic violence cases, the defense makes the victim as somehow deserving to be killed, as though she drove him to it. It was not beyond his control. He had a loaded gun and used it. ... She never had a chance to run. No one deserves to be gunned down in their home and left to die, no matter how many problems exist in their marriage. There is no excuse for taking a life away. Remember, before she was a victim, she was an innocent person deserving of life and love by so many."
Information from: The Leaf-Chronicle, http://www.theleafchronicle.com