Music pleas in assault case at ATV park

A man charged with shooting two people at an ATV park last year entered a guilty plea to second-degree assault.

Dallas Music Jr., 31, of Prestonsburg, Ky., was set for a jury trial on Wednesday but sidestepped the jury verdict by entering into a plea agreement on Tuesday in Laurel Circuit Court. Music entered guilty pleas to an amended charge of second-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence and will serve 360 days in jail.

Music appeared in court with his attorney, Conrad Cessna, for the plea agreement. The Commonwealth Attorney's office recommended that Music serve 10 years on the second-degree assault and five years on the tampering with evidence charge. The two sentences will run at the same time, giving Music a total of 10 years.

That sentence, however, was probated for 10 years - with the condition that Music serve 360 days in jail and pay restitution to the victim who was shot during a dispute between the two men. That restitution was not stated in the initial plea agreement paperwork but does state that the amount will be adjusted based on the outcome of a civil lawsuit filed by the victim against Music for medical treatment from the gunshot wounds incurred during their altercation in May 2018. Music is also not to have any contact with the victim nor the victim's family as part of the plea agreement.

Music was initially charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault, first-degree wanton endangerment, and tampering with physical evidence. Had Music's case gone to the jury and had he been found guilty of all charges, he could faced a maximum of 50 years in prison. With the plea agreement, however, the attempted murder charge and wanton endangerment charge were dismissed - which carry a maximum penalty of 25 years, combined.

Amending the assault from first-degree to second-degree lowered the penalty from 10 to 20 years to 5 to 10 years, with Music recommended for the maximum penalty on that charge. Tampering with physical evidence carries a 1 to 5 year sentence.

Music was free on bond after serving 28 days in jail before his bond was lowered from $100,000 to $50,000 fully secured. He has remained free since his release on June 18, 2018 and is set for formal sentencing on the charges on Jan. 27, 2020.

An altercation over some trash tossed along the paths of Wildcat Adventure Offroad Park in northern Laurel County spurred the incident that landed Music in jail and charged with the attempted murder of Gary Johnson on May 21, 2018. The two men had an altercation earlier in the day after Johnson confronted Music and some others in his group who had tossed trash in the park area. Music, according to information in the case, discharged a gun into the air six times before the two parties separated to ride on the trails in the ATV park. But another confrontation later resulted in more violence in which Music and Johnson were physically fighting and Johnson inevitably being shot. That altercation also injured Music's wife, who was approaching the two men in an attempt to separate them. Johnson and Music's wife Brittany were both taken for medical treatment following the incident, with both recovering from their wounds.

The tampering charge evolved from the gun used in the shooting being located in a nearby creek when Laurel County Sheriff's officials arrived to investigate the shooting incident. Music was arrested at the scene and remained in the Laurel County Correctional Center from May 21 to June 18, when his bond was reduced and posted by family members.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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