Gainey sentenced to 40 years in attempted murder case

A month after being found guilty of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm, Shawn Thomas Gainey on Wednesday was sentenced to serve 40 years in the Florida Department of Corrections.

Gainey and victim, Dan Reidel, were engaged in a road rage incident on Jan. 28, 2019, which ultimately resulted in Gainey shooting Reidel in the face. Footage of the incident was caught on a Chipley Police officer’s dash camera. A jury found Gainey guilty on May 11.

The defendant’s brother, Johnny Gainey, addressed the court during sentencing proceedings. 

“He was the best big brother that I could have ever asked for,” he said. “Shawn isn’t a violent man. We have tempers, but he isn’t violent. I believe he would not have done this had he not been in fear for his life that night. I believe he was justified in using the force that he used.”

State Attorney Megan Ford reminded the court Reidel is now non-verbal and residing in a nursing home where he requires assistance with his basic needs.

“Life is all about decisions and consequences, and the jury took 10 minutes to reject that the defendant was acting in self-defense,” she said. “The defendant could have made many different decisions that night but instead chose to pull out his powerful firearm and shoot Dan Reidel in the head. For all practical purposes, Dan Reidel lost his life that day.”

Gainey also addressed the court. 

“I have asked God for forgiveness for what I did,” he said. “It is not something I hold lightly. It puts a mark on a man’s soul, regardless of if it’s right or wrong. I am sorry for what I did to Mr. Reidel. I am sorry for how this has affected his family. I am just sorry. I ask for mercy from this court. This is not something that I wished would have happened.”

When time came to hand down sentencing, Chief Circuit Judge Christopher Patterson explained how he had reached his decision. 

“I listened very closely during the trial, and my decision is based on facts and evidence presented,” he said. “I have considered that Mr. Gainey has no significant criminal history. Dan Reidel suffered a severe victim injury. He is in a vegetative state after being shot in the face, and I find this to be a great bodily injury under the statute. I am going to sentence you first to what I am required to do by the Florida Legislature, which is 25 years minimum mandatory. The sentence of this court is you will be sentenced to serve a term of 40 years in the Florida Department of Corrections with 25 of those being mandatory.”

“I heard the testimony, and the jury rejected your version of event, sir,” added Judge Patterson. “So I will follow what the jury and Florida law says I must do.”

Gainey, who is expected to appeal the decision, was transported to the Washington County Jail where he will await transfer to FDOC.