Graham to serve two years for manslaughterPublished 3:55pm Friday, August 16, 2013
A Franklin County man convicted on manslaughter charges earlier this year was sentenced to a 14 year split sentence Friday.
Hershel Dale Graham, 51, 806A 10th St. NE, Red Bay, was convicted of manslaughter in the Nov. 3, 2011, shooting death of David Andrasik, 41, Franklin 11 North, Red Bay, in April.
Friday, Circuit Judge Terry Dempsey issued his sentence Friday saying the sentence will be split with two years to serve in prison with the balance being spent on supervised probation.
“This is a very difficult decision,” Dempsey said, adding that there were many circumstances involved with this particular case.
A jury found Graham not guilty on the original charge of murder.
Defense attorney Tom Freeland declined to comment Friday only saying that “this is all such a tragedy.”
Defense witnesses testified during the trial that Graham had tried to settle down a situation that first started between Andrasik, who was highly intoxicated at the time, and Graham’s then-17-year-old son, Elijah Graham.
They also said Graham never left the scene to allegedly get a gun from inside the home, which state’s witnesses had testified to.
Elijah Graham testified Andrasik had confronted him and his girlfriend in the driveway of their residence about two dogs who had run in front of his vehicle while he was traveling past the Grahams’ home on the evening of Nov. 3, 2011.
Elijah Graham stated the argument escalated to the point where Andrasik was yelling, cussing and beating on the hood of Elijah Graham’s truck.
He said he left the driveway and drove to the back of the house to get his father, Hershel Graham, who came outside with his son and his father, George Graham.
Defense witnesses all maintained that Andrasik was acting irrationally and had actually verbally threatened and physically shoved Hershel Graham several times before the shooting occurred.
Elijah Graham also testified that Hershel Graham asked Andrasik to leave their property and actually showed him the gun in his hand and before the shot was fired.
Defense attorneys maintained that Graham was only acting in self-defense when he fired the fatal shot that struck Andrasik in the chest with a .22 caliber pistol.
However, state’s witnesses said the shooting had taken place out of nowhere and there had been no indication the altercation had risen to that point.
Holly Lewey, a teacher at Red Bay School who was the only person at the scene to call 911, witnessed the incident from her car when she was unable to get around Andrasik’s vehicle, which was parked in the middle of the road with the driver’s side door ajar.
Lewey testified that Hershel Graham left the scene for a short period of time before coming back and firing the fatal shot.
Donald Self, the Grahams’ neighbor who witnessed the incident with his wife, Sue, from their front porch, also said he noticed Herschel Graham go out of sight behind the house for a short time.
Several of Andrasik’s family members asked Dempsey to impose a stiff penalty in the case, saying that Andrasik’s wife and children, one of which was born just 12 days before the shooting, could never have him back.
Speaking on his own behalf Friday, Graham apologized to Andrasik’s family and told Dempsey that no matter what he sentenced him to, he would never be free.
“I will never be free because of what happened,” Graham said.
“I would give my life if it would change anything, but it won’t. I will always have to live knowing that I took another man’s life.”