An illegal immigrant from Mexico has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to assaulting a Thomson woman nearly two years ago. The shooting left the victim paralyzed.
Guillermo Romero, 47, admitted through an interpreter that he shot his brother's girlfriend on Sept. 13, 2007, during a special hearing held in McDuffie County Superior Court in Thomson last Friday morning. At the time, Allison Inglett was asleep in bed with her boyfriend, the defendant's brother. The shooting occurred at 372 Noble Street, just outside the city limits of Thomson.
Miss Inglett, now 23, was shot in the side, and the bullet became lodged in her back. She has been paralyzed from her waist down since the shooting. Miss Inglett, who was accompanied into the courtroom by family members, is now confined to a wheelchair.
Toombs Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Roger W. Dunaway Jr., asked the defendant through his interpreter if he committed the acts. Mr. Romero replied, "Yes."
Mr. Romero pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Prior to sentencing, Judge Dunaway told Mr. Romero, "There was absolutely no reason or excuse for this."
Miss Inglett's grandmother, Agnes Swint said her granddaughter would be paralyzed for the rest of her life.
"If she had died, it couldn't have been any worse," Mrs. Swint said. "In one night, her life changed."
Mr. Romero, who was represented by Toombs Judicial Circuit Public Defender Harold Wallace, had been drinking alcoholic beverages prior to the shooting. Earlier, he and his brother had gotten into a fight which was broken up by Miss Inglett. Later that night, Mr. Romero walked into his brother's bedroom and shot his girlfriend.
After the shooting, Miss Inglett's boyfriend attempted to wrestle the gun from his brother's hands, according to the case presented by Toombs Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Rindi Harberson.
Mr. Wallace said his client had saved county taxpayers a lot of money from deciding to plead guilty to the charges rather than have his case heard by a jury.
"He's a man in a foreign country who is very scared," Mr. Wallace said.
During Judge Dunaway's questioning, the defendant claimed that he had been beaten by people outside of the county jail. Judge Dunaway asked McDuffie County Sheriff's Department Deputy Sgt. First Class Mike Hobbs to look into that allegation.