CHIPLEY – A man found guilty of shooting another man in the head following a “road rage” incident here was sentenced to 40 years in prison Wednesday, State Attorney Larry Basford announced.
Shawn Thomas Gainey, 50, was found guilty of Attempted Second-Degree Murder by a Washington County jury last month. Wednesday, Chief Circuit Court Judge Christopher Patterson sentenced him to 40 years in prison under Florida’s 10-20-Life law, meaning the first 25 years must be served day-for-day.
During sentencing, both Prosecutor Megan Ford and Judge Patterson noted the victim, Dan Riedel, now 34, was not killed in the shooting but will never lead a normal life.
“Dan Riedel has not and will not be able to recover from the defendant’s decision,” Ford said. “This is not a case where someone was shot in the arm, had surgery, and was able to move on and have a normal life.
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“Dan Riedel will spend the rest of his life in a nursing home,” she continued. “He uses few words. He has the abilities of a toddler. For all practical purposes, Dan Riedel lost his life that day.”
Ford proved at trial that on Jan. 28, 2019, the defendant and Riedel were both driving north on State 77 when they became involved in a traffic dispute.
The dashcam video from a Chipley police officer who happened upon the dispute seconds before the shooting showed the victim’s truck pulled off the road to the right and the defendant’s truck stopped at an angle partially blocking the northbound lane.
The defendant was pointing a pistol at Riedel, who was standing by his driver’s door. Riedel is seen moving to the back of his truck and opening that door so that it was between him and the defendant, and turning to stand behind it with his hands resting on the open window when a shot was fired.
Riedel, struck in the head, immediately collapsed. The defendant claimed the victim had armed himself. No gun was found at the scene or in the victim’s vehicle, nor was one seen in the video.
The jury took less than 15 minutes to find the defendant guilty.
“Life is all about decisions and consequences,” Ford told Judge Patterson during sentencing. “While the defendant didn’t per se take his life, we are asking the court to recognize Dan Riedel’s current state.”
Judge Patterson, in delivering the sentence, said he was bound by law on a portion of the sentence. But he also said he had to recognize the jury’s decision.
“Mr. Gainey, I heard the testimony,” Judge Patterson said. “The jury rejected your version of events.”
Basford thanked the Chipley Police Department for its thorough investigation of the shooting. For additional information, contact Mike Cazalas at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 850-381-7454.