Prineville man Michael Donovan was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday morning for the shooting death of James Scott.
The shooting occurred on Sept. 3, 2015 in what authorities have described as a drug deal gone bad. The case was tough to prosecute, according to Crook County District Attorney Daina Vitolins, because the people involved in the case were not often honest with law enforcement regarding the circumstances that led to the shooting.
"Essentially what happened in this case is Mr. Donovan and two other individuals and James Scott and Kindr Bork met at 7-11 and agreed to a drug deal at 3 a.m.," Vitolins explained. "Scott and Bork sell methamphetamine to Mr. Donovan and then separate. Donovan goes back to his house and he and his friends start to use the methamphetamine and they find out they have been ripped off. It's not meth."
An angry Donovan decided to track down Scott and either get his meth or get his money back. He and other individuals found Scott in the Juniper Canyon area and pinned his car between two other vehicles. Bork then brandished what looked like a weapon, but was later found to be a toy gun.
"At that point, Donovan shoots Scott in the head and kills him," Vitolins said.
Bork was intended to be the key witness in the case, Vitolins said, but she changed her story multiple times when telling law enforcement what had happened. That became an issue during the trial.
"Nobody in the case really told the truth," she said.
Donovan ultimately pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, a Class B felony, and attempted first-degree assault, also a Class B felony. He was sentenced to 75 months in prison for the manslaughter conviction and 45 months in prison for the attempted assault.
"Based on the facts and the evidence, I thought 120 months would be an appropriate sentence," Vitolins said. "That's what we would get if went to trial and got a conviction for Manslaughter I."
Vitolins said that the James Scott family is completely unhappy with this resolution because they thought Donovan deserved more prison time. However, given the fact that Scott had meth in his system at the time of incident, according to his autopsy, and the rest of the evidence, Vitolins felt the sentence was appropriate.
"It thought it was the best resolution we could get," she concluded.