Mesnard Pleads Guilty; Sentencing to Come Later


Published on March 5 2013 3:14 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Byron Mesnard has pleaded guilty to a felony count of aggravated discharge of a firearm and will be sentenced for the offense later this year.

The 20-year-old Mesnard entered the plea during a hearing Tuesday afternoon before Judge James Eder.  In exchange for the guilty plea to the Class 1 felony count, State's Attorney Bryan Kibler dismissed a Class X felony count of aggravated battery involving a firearm.  The Class 1 count carries a possible prison term of from four to 15 years in prison, but could also result in probation for Mesnard.  A Class X felony conviction would have carried a mandatory prison term.

Mesnard was charged in connection with an early morning incident last September 30 that resulted in Shane Gephart's being shot.  The incident occurred at Mesnard's home along the Funkhouser Road.  Gephart had reportedly gone to the home to see Brandi Arnold.  As Gephart was leaving, Mesnard reportedly fired shots at the vehicle Gephart had driven to the scene and one of the shots wounded Gephart.

Mesnard also shot himself at the end of the incident.  He is still recovering from the wound, and Gephart is also doing some long-term rehabilitation.

Kibler said after the hearing that the bond posted on Mesnard's behalf will cover most of any restitution and medical costs incurred by Gephart.  He said he still has the option of seeking a prison term for Mesnard.

Defense counsel Scott Ealy said his client is still recuperating, but said "we don't want to do anything to minimize that Shane Gephart is the victim here."

Judge Eder set a status hearing in the matter for 9:30am on March 25.  A sentencing hearing could be set at that time.