A 23-year-old Thomson man was sentenced to 18 years in jail and fined $200,000 after pleading guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and trafficking cocaine.
Terry M. Tutt pleaded guilty Thursday, Sept. 23, in McDuffie County Superior Court concerning the death of 14-year old Aunsharia Moss New Year's Day 2003 and trafficking 36 grams of cocaine in August 2003, a crime committed while he was out on bond for the murder charges.
Aunsharia died of a gunshot wound to the head while she was seated in a car in the parking lot of the former T & W Lounge during a shoot-out around 2 a.m. New Year's Day.
Toombs Circuit District Attorney Dennis Sanders says this was the largest shooting incident he has seen in the past 31 years in the district attorney's office. Approximately 45 shots were fired in the parking lot that morning. Mr. Sanders said he can't say with certainty that Mr. Tutt fired the fatal shot due to never finding the murder weapon. However, Mr. Tutt was in a direct line to where Aunsharia was sitting, he said.
Aunsharia's aunt, Debra Moss Oliver, spoke for the family during the proceedings Thursday morning.
"They said it was an accident, but when you pull out a gun it is not an accident, it is with intent to kill someone," she said, adding that the shooting took "a young life that is our future."
Mr. Tutt also addressed the court saying he was sorry for any part he played in the incident. He told the judge that he meant to pull the gun out but "never meant to hurt anyone like that."
Before sentencing, Superior Court Judge Roger Dunaway said this was a "blow to the community and even though Tutt didn't intend to hurt the child, the results were tragic." Mr. Tutt was sentenced to 18 years for voluntary manslaughter, and the mandatory minimum for trafficking cocaine of 10 years confinement and a fine of $200,000. As part of the plea agreement, the sentences are to run concurrently. The charges against two co-defendants in the cocaine case were also dropped as a result of the guilty plea by Mr. Tutt.