An Oregon man will serve jail time for shooting a neighbor in the act of stealing one of his pot plants.
Josiah Timothy Shirley, 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and the unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting of Richard Allen Kelly, 38, in a Lane County court. He was arrested in October after Kelly reached over the fence to try and steal a little marijuana from Shirley’s crop.
Shirley, a state-licensed grower of medical marijuana, was sleeping outside in order to guard his marijuana plot, the Eugene Register-Guard reported. Since marijuana plants have such a telling odor, “everyone knew this marijuana grow existed in the backyard,” according to Deputy District Attorney Erik Hasselman.
Kelly and his girlfriend caught a whiff and made a contraption to reach into Shirley’s garden and snip a plant, intending to start their own crop. Shirley woke up to the sound of his precious buds being pruned and took aim at the male silhouette standing in the yard of the vacant house next door.
The bullet shattered Kelly’s femur. He still has not completely recovered from the surgery, which required a metal replacement for part of the bone. He was not present at the trial.
The judge sentenced Shirley to six years and eight months behind bars. He will also have to pay $39,600 in medical damages.
“I think you’re very lucky not to be here on some sort of homicide,” the judge told Shirley.
“You’re just not allowed to shoot people who steal your crop,” said Hasselman.
Kelly’s defense attorney, Jim Jagger, said that Shirley fired the shot in a knee-jerk reaction, as he was spooked by an earlier intruder in his yard and a burglary in the house next door.
But, “He understands the error in the choice he made,” Jagger said.