A man charged in the June, 2018 murder of another entered a plea agreement Monday, which resulted in a sentence totaling 30 years. The sentence was for a total of 25 years to run consecutively with a five year sentence on other related charges.
Jerry Thomas Pritchard, 27, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Brandon Trey Lively, 26, said Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Catherine S. Findley in a statement released Wednesday.
Bulloch County Superior Court Chief Judge Gates Peed sentenced Pritchard to 20 years for the plea of voluntary manslaughter (15 to serve in prison, and five years’ probation.) For the charge of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, Peed sentenced Pritchard to five years’ probation, to be served consecutively to the voluntary manslaughter sentence.
Pritchard was already serving a five year sentence for felony driving with a suspended license and entering auto. He pled guilty to those crimes in Sept. 2018 and received a sentence of five years to serve, Findley said. That sentence, paired with Tuesday’s sentences regarding Lively’s death, to run consecutively, resulted in the 30-year total, she said.
Pritchard was originally charged with malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, according to the plea agreement, a copy of which the Statesboro Herald obtained from the Bulloch County Clerk of Court’s Office.
In the plea agreement, charges of malice murder, aggravated assault, and aggravated battery were nolle processed (not prosecuted) and the felony murder charges reduced to voluntary manslaughter. Pritchard waived his right to a jury trial.
The night Lively died, an off-duty Bulloch County Sheriff’s deputy was pumping gas at PoJo’s convenience store on Hwy. 80 East at the intersection of Burkhalter Road when he heard gunshots, according to reports.
After the shooting, the off-duty deputy rushed to the scene and administered CPR to Lively before he was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Pritchard was in a silver Kia at the intersection when Lively reportedly pulled up behind him, got out of his vehicle and rushed to Pritchard’s Kia. Pritchard reportedly fired several shots, striking Lively before driving away.
He was later found, after someone tipped off deputies, at a Hwy. 46 residence.
Bulloch County Sheriff Noel Brown, in a statement following the shooting, said the altercation stemmed from an ongoing dispute between the two over a woman they both had dated. The woman, Spencer Michelle Dutton, 27, Hwy. 46, was also arrested, charged with obstruction, making false statements and writings, and hindering the apprehension of a criminal.
Family members said Lively was dating Dutton, who also had a residence on Burkhalter Road. Pritchard, of a Bennett Grooms Road in Brooklet, reportedly dated Dutton in the past, and was still working for her relatives at the Hwy. 46 address where he and Dutton were taken into custody.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.