NEW PHILADELPHIA -- A Chicago-area man who shot at a Salem Township resident last July is going to prison for eight years.
JaPierre M. Morris, 30, was sentenced by Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos. Morris changed his plea during a final pre-trail hearing, avoiding a jury trial that was scheduled for Tuesday.
Morris' indictment included a first-degree felony charge of attempted murder, among a handful of other charges. In agreeing to plead guilty, the attempted murder charge was dropped and Morris was ultimately convicted of two counts of felonious assault, tampering with evidence and unlawful transportation of a firearm.
The sentence he received Monday is half of the maximum penalty --19 years -- he could have been given if convicted of the indictment including the attempted murder charge.
Assistant Prosecutor Mike Ernest said Morris' sentence was acceptable.
"A resolution of eight years in prison was a fair resolution to this case," he said.
In May, Morris' co-offender, Jermond A. Jenkins, 36, was sent to prison for four years for his role in the July 11, 2016 incident. Jenkins pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree felony of aggravated assault and having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony.
The Salem Township victim was shot at about 7:30 p.m. July 11 after a red car pulled into the driveway of his home on U.S. Route 36 between Port Washington and Newcomerstown. Morris and Jenkins had asked for directions, and claimed to be rappers from the Chicago area.
The car left the scene and was pursued by troopers with the New Philadelphia post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The chase ended when the red car crashed into a truck in Stark County.
According to investigators, Morris was a front seat passenger in the vehicle, and the victim identified him as the shooter. Jenkins was the driver.
Morris is already serving a two-year prison sentence that began in October in Lake Erie Correctional Institution for two unrelated charges out of Portage County.