A Summerville man serving three years in prison for his connection to the 2011 death of a man outside a Goose Creek bar will not have his sentence reduced.
Justin Johnson, 28, had been sentenced in January after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter for the August 2011 death of 35-year-old Edward Duttine, of Summerville.
Circuit Judge Roger Young denied a request Tuesday morning during a hearing in Moncks Corner by Johnson's attorney, Michael DuPree, to reduce that sentence.
DuPree argued Johnson should serve the same sentence as his codefendant, Jonathan Powell, 28, of Ladson, who also pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
The pair had originally both been sentenced to three years in prison and five years of probation. In February, however, Circuit Judge Stephanie McDonald reduced Powell's sentence to one year in prison, along with five years of probation, according to court records.
Young asked prosecutors if McDonald had stated why she had made that ruling. Ninth Circuit Assistant Solicitor Colleen Taylor said she didn't recall McDonald expressing the reasoning behind her decision.
"I know she mentioned at one point the two were in different positions," she told the judge.
"The theory presented to me is that this gentlemen is less culpable," Young said. "But he kicked him in the head at least one time, maybe more. I found that reprehensible."
DuPree said he wasn't trying to diminish the seriousness of the crime but said it was alcohol-related.
"I don't think there was ever any intention to really hurt anybody," DuPree said. "It was purely accidental."
Young said he did not agree and called Johnson's crime heinous.
"It may have been alcohol-fueled, but it wasn't accidental. I haven't heard anything that changed my mind," Young said before denying the request to reduce Johnson's sentence.
On Aug. 6, 2011, Duttine got into a scuffle with Johnson and Powell at the Moonshine Saloon, 216 Myers Road, according to authorities.
Authorities determined that Duttine threw the first punch, toward Johnson, according to prosecutors.
Powell then punched Duttine, who fell to the ground, prosecutors said.
Some witnesses indicated Duttine might have struck his head on a car or the ground on his way down, but others indicated he was kicked in the head while down, according to authorities.
A medical examiner could not conclusively say whether Powell's punch or one of the other blows was the primary cause of his fatal injury, prosecutors said.
Reach Natalie Caula Hauff at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula.
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