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Gainey found guilty of attempted second-degree murder

A jury found Shawn Thomas Gainey guilty of attempted second-degree murder on Wednesday after a two-day trial.

The six-member jury took just 10 minutes to deliberate, returning the guilty verdict after hearing from three witnesses called by defense attorney Casey Bigelow, including Gainey.

Gainey told the court he was in fear for his life during the Jan. 28, 2019 altercation with victim Dan Reidel.

On that date, Gainey and Reidel were traveling separately on Highway 77 and had a minor accident, leading them both to pull over in front of One South Bank in Chipley, where a verbal altercation took place. A Chipley police officer observed the two vehicles partially blocking the right of way and pulled in behind them to check on the situation. That is when the officer’s dash camera captured footage of Gainey shooting Reidel in the head.

Gainey stated Reidel and the occupants of Reidel ‘s vehicle were “bullying and harassing him all through town.” Although Gainey did not deny shooting Reidel, he stated it was in self-defense. “I really didn’t mean to have to do this,” he said. “It is not something I ever wanted to do in my life, but he gave me no other choice. He was relentless.”

State Attorney Megan Ford used closing arguments to speak to the jury about witness testimonies they heard during the proceedings, including Gainey, noting there was one person’s testimony they didn’t hear, that of Dan Reidel. 

“We didn’t get to hear from Dan Reidel because he is non-verbal in a nursing home in Georgia, where he will likely be for the rest of his life,” she said. “He is there because Shawn Gainey used a firearm and attempted second-degree murder.”

When Bigelow gave his closing arguments, he too, spoke to the jury about the testimonies, calling them “conflicting.” Bigelow also reiterated Gainey’s account of self-defense. 

“Mr. Gainey did not wake up that day hoping or wanting to shoot someone,” he said. “He was forced to.”

Gainey is scheduled to be sentenced at 11 a.m. Monday, June 6.

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