Man sentenced for father-in-law's 2017 shooting death

Michael Collier

Twenty years in prison is the sentence bestowed on 39-year-old Michael Paul Collier of London from his hearing before Laurel Circuit Judge Michael Caperton on Thursday.

Collier entered a guilty plea last month to the January 2017 shooting death of his father-in-law, Gordon Browning, as well as guilty to two charges of first-degree assault against two females - one of which was his estranged wife. During the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Collier was sentenced to serve 20 years on the murder charge and 15 years on each of the assault charges. Those sentences will run concurrently, or at the same time, giving Collier a total of 20 years.

The events leading to Browning's death came when Collier and a female arrived at Browning's home on Huff Lane on the evening of Jan. 21 where his estranged wife, Jessica, was visiting her father. Jessica Collier and a friend, Amy Lyons of Harrogate, Tennessee, came outside the home and the couple engaged in an argument in which Michael Paul Collier fired a gun.

Gordon Browning heard the shots and came outside the home and was struck several times during the gunfire. He was found lying beside his truck in the driveway of the residence when deputies arrived at the scene around 12:20 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Jessica Collier and Lyons had also been hit during the gunfire and both were flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center for their injuries. Several other people were inside Browning's home - including the Collier's child - but none sustained injuries.

Collier's case had undergone numerous delays since he was arrested and indicted, including the plea agreement. His trial date was originally set for mid-2018, but was postponed several times. When he agreed to enter a guilty plea rather than take his chances against a jury's verdict, that too was postponed until another date. Collier did, however, enter into a plea agreement on Dec. 12 for the 20-year sentence. Had he been found guilty of murder during a jury trial, he could have faced a minimum of 20 years to a 50-year sentence or life imprisonment.

Collier has been held in the Laurel County Correctional Center since his arrest.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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