Suicidal shooter avoids jail time with plea deal

A Clifton man whose suicidal bullet went through his chest and injured a woman nearby avoided jail time in a plea agreement agreed to by a judge on Thursday.

Michael Sexton, 32, agreed to plead guilty to one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, in the deal reached with prosecutors and signed off on by District Judge Richard Gurley on Thursday. Sexton will spend five years on probation and pay nearly $9,000 in restitution as a result of the agreement.

Deputy District Attorney Jason Conley called Sexton’s case “very sad” and described the third-degree assault charge as “unintentional, but reckless.”

Sexton could have faced six months to six years in jail for potentially triggering a deferred judgment from a previous case, but Judge Gurley decided instead to revert back to probation in that prior case.

Sexton’s mental state, and continued issues with depression and substance abuse, were cited often Thursday by probation officers, attorneys, and friends and family.

Sexton — who appeared neatly dressed in shirt and tie, and was quietly remorseful — had a number of people speak on his behalf. His ex-wife and mother of his children asked the judge to make sure Sexton gets “intense therapy, so he can be a better person for our family.”

The woman struck in the hip by the bullet Sexton fired from a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun, Crystal Mannon, also appeared at the hearing, and expressed Sexton’s need for support to address his issues.

Other charges including felony possession of a weapon by a prior offender, reckless endangerment and prohibited use of a weapon were dropped.

Judge Gurley told Sexton that his five-year probation could be terminated early if he can prove he’s being treated for his mental health and substance abuse issues, and that he’s paid the more than $8,800 in restitution, fees and court costs.


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