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Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Spencerville man sentenced to 10 -year prison term in shooting death

By Shelley Grieshop
A young Spencerville man will spend the next 10 years in prison for shooting a Lima man in the head during a party at a farmhouse near Kossuth in November.
Matthew D. Pennington, 22, was sentenced Wednesday in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court after pleading guilty in March to voluntary manslaughter. The plea was part of a plea agreement between his attorney and the prosecutor's office.
Pennington received the maximum prison sentence allowed by law for the first-degree felony charge. Judge Frederick Pepple also ordered him to pay $14,571.46 in restitution to the victim's family, all court costs and prosecution expenses.
The victim, Daniel R. King, 23, of Lima, was found dead in the backseat of a truck near the farmhouse along state Route 197 near state Route 66 at 4:30 a.m. Nov. 2. The murder reportedly resulted after a large group of young adults arrived at the rural property where another group already was partying.
An argument over games being played at the party reportedly started the altercation, which authorities believe might have included a dispute over a boyfriend/girlfriend issue.
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said a series of cell phone calls between several people - some not even at the party - likely fueled the fight.
Following a call about the shooting, authorities found King's lifeless body in a truck not far from the home on the property.
Solomon said the senseless shooting could have been avoided.
"This was a terrible situation for everyone involved. There were several chances for several individuals to stop this before it got to the point of the loss of someone's life and they chose not to do so," he said.
Although King was not armed when he was gunned down, Solomon said several people at the party - most in their 20s - had guns available to them at the scene. At least some of those weapons were identified as typical hunting weapons, Solomon said.
Pennington initially was indicted for murder, which carries a punishment of life in prison. Other indictment charges included involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, felonious assault and aggravated menacing.
Three of the original charges carried gun specifications that could have added another three years in prison to Pennington's sentence.
Upon release from prison, Pennington will serve a mandatory five-year probation period. He was given 195 days incarceration credit for jail time served while the case was pending.
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