A Lynchburg man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison in connection with a fatal 2018 shooting in Lynchburg’s Diamond Hill neighborhood.
Asa Jeremiah Hogue, 37, was convicted Tuesday of voluntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with the death of Tyler Lorenzo Harris, 25, on Aug. 29, 2018.
The shooting happened while community members and law enforcement met two blocks away for E.N.O.U.G.H., an event meant to foster trust and cooperation with officers in Diamond Hill and other city neighborhoods.
Officers with the Lynchburg Police Department were dispatched to 1220 17th St. about 5 p.m. that day for a report of shots fired. They found Harris in a basement apartment at the address with gunshot wounds to the hips, according to police reports. Harris was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital, where he later died.
Hogue was identified by witnesses as the shooter and turned himself in to police hours after the incident. He was charged with second-degree murder, using a firearm in a felony and possessing a firearm as a felon.
Hogue received 10 years for the voluntary manslaughter conviction and an additional five years for possession of a firearm by a felon.
Harris’ girlfriend, Alexis Pennix, testified during the trial that she picked up Harris from work the afternoon of Aug. 29, 2018, and they went to a friend’s house before heading to 17th Street. Harris was on the phone with someone in the car, who Pennix said she later learned was Hogue.
Pennix said she knew Hogue, Harris was friends with him and she was not aware of any problems between them.
When they arrived at the 17th Street apartment, Pennix said she remained in the car while Harris got out and walked around it to shake someone’s hand and talk to them. Pennix said she jumped from the car when she heard a gunshot and found Harris sitting on the ground and Hogue standing over him with a gun. She also testified that she saw Hogue pacing around and watched him shoot Harris a second time.
During the two-day trial, Hogue’s attorney — Paul Valois — claimed shooting Harris was an act of self defense. Valois claimed Harris had made previous threats against Hogue and attacked him during the incident. Valois called several witness who testified they had violent encounters with Harris.
“It clearly shows he [Harris] was a violent and dangerous man,” Valois said Tuesday.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Pflieger claimed the shooting of Harris was a premeditated act by Hogue, who has prior felony drug charges and convictions.
“We know the defendant was the shooter,” Pflieger said. “That is indisputable. However, he procured a firearm — despite being a felon — days before the shooting when there was no imminent threat to him.
“He coldly and deliberately came up with a plan to deal with Tyler Harris,” Pflieger added.
The jury deliberated for about two hours before returning a verdict of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting even though the prosecution was pursuing a first-degree murder conviction.
During the sentencing portion of the trial, Harris’ parents both took the stand to ask the jury to give Hogue the maximum sentences for the convictions.
“This man [Hogue] needs to spend as much time in jail as possible for what he did,” Jake Harris said to the jury Tuesday. “My son had some shortcomings but he didn’t deserve to be murdered in cold blood. This man sells poison in the community and he is proud of it.”
Harris also spoke directly to Hogue during his statement.
“You choose to kill my son,” Harris said. “I’m trying hard to forgive you. I’m trying hard to forgive you for killing my son.”
Hogue also took the stand during sentencing and addressed Harris’ family.
“I apologize that any of this had to happen,” Hogue said. “I never thought I would have blood on my hands in any situation.”