Paul Hill shoots .22 caliber handgun at acquaintance, controversially avoids prison time
Last September, Paul Hill -- a father of seven with a clean record -- got into an argument with an acquaintance named Patrick Adams outside the YWCA at 2121 E. Lake St. in Minneapolis.
The argument escalated into a physical altercation. Eventually, Hill told Adams "I've got something for you," then drove off. After retrieving his handgun, Hill came back to the Y, saw Adams in the parking lot, and shot at him from his truck with a .22 caliber handgun. His shot missed the mark, and he was later arrested.
Hill, 45, pleaded guilty to second degree assault, and yesterday he was sentenced. Although the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines called for Hill to be sentenced to three years in prison, judge Daniel Moreno ended up sentencing Hill to just 180 days in the Hennepin County Workhouse.
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Dan Allard told Moreno that he thought there was no good reason to deviate from the sentencing guidelines.
"This was not a gut reaction," Allard told the judge. "He left the gym, got in his car, drove away, got a gun and came back."
But Moreno apparently thought Hill's clean record, employment history, and contributions to the community as a basketball coach warranted some leniency.
Today, I'm faced with a father of seven, who is gainfully employed, who doesn't come here with a record, who has made contributions to the community through his coaching and who has shepherded his children through life's troubled waters. The easy thing would be to send you to prison. But I am faced with a person with an exemplary life up to this point. I can't ignore that.
Adams was outraged by the sentence. In the victim impact statement, he wrote that following the incident, one of his sons wanted to get a gun and go after Hill. Adams suggested the lenient sentence instructs his children that there is little consequence for using violence to resolve disputes.
I told my son that I don't believe in guns and it is never okay to take another man's life, regardless of what he has done. I also told him that the law deals with people who decide to commit such egregious acts of violence. If, in fact, you are going to sentence Mr. Hill to work house time and not prison time for his pre-meditated act, how do I justly pound home the fact that any act of violence towards another man is deplorable? How is it we now live in a society where it is okay to resolve problems with guns instead of with words?
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