James Shawn Halleran, who shot and stabbed a man on Southside Road last year, speaks to his lawyer Randy Piercey before the start of his sentencing hearing at provincial court in St. John’s Thursday afternoon. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
A man who shot and stabbed another man in the midst of a drug deal has been given a seven-year jail term.
James Shawn Halleran was sentenced this morning at provincial court in St. John's.
Judge Lori Marshall gave the 22-year-old 164 days credit for the time he's already been in custody, leaving six years and 6 1/2 months left on his term.
During the sentencing hearing in December, Crown prosecutor Lisa Stead had requested that Halleran get an eight-year prison term.
Halleran’s lawyer Randy Piercey suggested a jail sentence of four to five years.
But Marshall said the minimum sentence was not appropriate in a case as serious as this one.
While Halleran is youthful, Marshall said
"Although you accept responsibility, you maintain it wasn't pre-planned.
"You regret your actions, but there is no remorse for the life-threatening injuries you cause (the victim)...," Marshall said in handing down the sentence.
"Although you regret the position you now find yourself in, I'm not convinced you have true insight into your actions."
She said courts must send a message that society will not tolerate such acts of violence.
Halleran pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, discharging a firearm, breaching probation by failing to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and breaching a recognizance regarding curfew.
Halleran and a 17-year-old were arrested following an incident that happened in the afternoon of Oct. 26, 2011.
Halleran and the teen were at 231A Southside Rd. — where Halleran’s uncle lived — to meet a drug dealer, who was to sell them five pounds of marijuana.
When the dealer showed up, the teen had a small, cardboard box on the table, which he said contained $14,500. A disagreement arose as to the price of the marijuana. The teen said, “Don’t worry. You’re not getting any money'
Halleran, who had not been in the room, suddenly appeared, masked and holding a .22-calibre rifle. The drug dealer quickly tried to bag his marijuana, but Halleran hit him in the head with the gun. That sparked a fracas that saw the teen order Halleran to shoot the 40-year-old man. As all three were struggling, Halleran fired the gun and hit the man in the leg.
As Halleran was trying to reload the gun, the teen and the man were struggling on the floor. The teen asked Halleran to shoot the man again.
The man managed to grab the gun. It was then Halleran and the teen stabbed the man several times.
Halleran went back into the back room and came out with another long gun. He wasn’t wearing a mask this time.
The man — who was rescued by his two friends who rushed into the house — was admitted to hospital in critical condition with multiple stab wounds to his upper torso and a gunshot wound to his left leg.
He needed surgery to repair an aortic bleed caused by the stabbing. The gunshot caused a fracture to one of the man’s leg bones. He was discharged from hospital in November 2011.
Halleran was arrested Nov. 3, 2011, and was originally denied bail. He applied for a bail review and was eventually released.
However, he was picked up by police again Sept.18 of this year and charged with breaching curfew conditions of his recognizance. He’s been in jail ever since.
A few months ago, he pleaded guilty to three charges — aggravated assault, discharging a weapon with intent and breach of probation.
At the sentencing hearing, Stead pointed out that the men had planned the robbery — Halleran hid in the back room, while the teen lured the man inside the house.
Stead also noted that weapons — a gun and knives — were also used in carrying out the crime.
Piercey said his client, who has a short criminal record, is extremely remorseful about what he did.
He said Halleran had a serious drug addiction at the time, especially to Percocet. According to the pre-sentence report, Halleran, who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was also suffering from depression.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named due to a court ban, was also arrested and charged in connection with the incident.
He was sentenced in February to 16 months in a youth detention centre after pleading guilty to aggravated assault and armed robbery.
The teen was given three months’ credit for the time he had spent in pre-trial custody, leaving 13 months on his term. He will then spend six months under community supervision.