Friday, May 29, 2009

Milwaukee County Deputy sentenced to 20 years prison, 10 years extended supervision for shooting "girlfriend"

A former Milwaukee County sheriff's deputy was sentenced to 20 years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision for shooting his then girlfriend in the face. After the victim fled to a neighbor's home, the perpetrator shot through the door, injuring a 12 year old girl and leaving a bullet lodged among the next door family's Christmas presents.

After a guilty plea in Milwaukee County Circuit Judge David Borowski's courtroom Thomas D. Hutchins, 40, was sentenced to consecutive 10 year prison/ 5 year extended supervision terms for two counts of intentional first degree reckless injury, and 2 years prison/ 2 years extended supervision for a single count of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon.

According to records and testimony, Hutchins went to the home of his girlfriend, Petria Dent, 32, with a gift for their child just before Christmas. The couple soon were involved in a violent argument; he said it was over her spanking their daughter.

Dent said he slapped her and that she defended herself by striking him with a candlestick. Hutchins denied he slapped her, saying her attack was unprovoked and he shot her out of fear for his safety. He also said she had threatened to call the police and he feared his job would be endangered. He said she had earlier made allegations of illegal activity to the sheriff's office that she later retracted.

After Dent was shot, she fled to a neighbor's home, and Hutchins pursued her. The neighbor told Borowski that the scene was like something out of a horror movie. Days later, when the family opened Christmas gifts, they found a bullet in one of them.

WHen the defendant's attorney Bridget Boyle said that he fired the shots to see if the victim was OK, the victim responded from the gallery, "He shot me in the face! What does she mean he wanted to see if I was OK?"

Deputy District Attorney Patrick Kenney asked Judge Borowski for a 25 year prison sentence because of the proximity of children to the crime scene. The 12 year old girl injured was hit in the hand and leg, while other kids present had to undergo counseling.

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