Sikeston man sentenced to prison for fatal shooting of friend during prank

Thursday, July 27, 2017

NEW MADRID, Mo. -- A Sikeston, Missouri, man is heading to prison for the shooting death of a friend.

Tiarrius Gant, 19, was sentenced by Judge Fred Copeland on Tuesday to five years in the Department of Corrections on a charge of voluntary manslaughter and 15 years for unlawful use of a weapon with the sentences to run consecutively totaling 20 years.

On two counts of armed criminal action, Copeland sentenced Gant to three years in the DOC on each count with these counts to also run consecutively totaling six years; the six years will run concurrently with the 20-year sentence.

In connection with a second count of unlawful use of weapon (carrying a concealed weapon), Gant was sentenced to four years in the DOC. This sentence will run concurrently to the previous sentences.

"By statute, he will be required to serve every day of the six years for the two armed criminal action sentences," said New Madrid County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Lawson, who prosecuted Gant for the Dec. 29, 2015, shooting death of Devin Alexander.

During a trial May 31, a jury deliberated just under an hour before finding Gant guilty of voluntary manslaughter, two counts of armed criminal action and two counts of unlawful use of a weapon in the shooting which left his 17-year-old friend dead.

According to testimony during the trial, Gant and another friend were sitting in his car in front of his house listening to music and smoking marijuana. They had contacted Alexander and another teen to join them.

Alexander and the teen decided to surprise Gant. They approached the vehicle, opening the doors and when Alexander reached for the passenger in Gant's car, Gant pulled a gun from between the seats, firing it and killing Alexander.

After the shooting, Gant fled the scene.

"All the credit for this conviction goes to law enforcement," Lawson said following last Tuesday's sentencing. "Due to the collaborative efforts of the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, the SEMO Major Case Squad and the St. Louis Metro Police Department, this defendant was arrested less than 12 hours after the killing while hiding out in St. Louis."