A man who admitted to reckless homicide in the August shooting death of his toddler son has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Ronald A. Bohannon, 30, told Greene County Circuit Court Judge Erick C. Allen, “I just want to say, whatever you give me, I fully deserve.”

Bohannon had signed a plea agreement last week, admitting his guilt in the Aug. 16 shooting death of 14-month-old Travis Bohannon. The agreement left the sentencing up to Allen, as Bohannon faced the class-C felony charges of reckless homicide and possession of a handgun without a license, and the class-D felony charge of receiving stolen property. He also agreed to a felony habitual offender enhancement that adds five years to whatever sentence the judge gave him on the other three charges.

He faced a maximum sentence of 24 years in prison.

Testimony began about 9 a.m. Friday at the Greene County Courthouse, with the judge’s decision being rendered around 12:30 p.m.

During the court proceedings, Bohannon admitted to holding a cocked and loaded handgun while he was pushing Travis in a stroller along a street near his residence in Midland, south of Jasonville on Indiana 59. Bohannon’s other son, who was 5 years old at the time, was riding his bike nearby as the trio took an evening walk.

Prosecutor Jarrod D. Holtsclaw played a 911 recording of the frantic voice of Tanya D. Salesman, 32, who lived in a mobile home with Bohannon. When a dispatcher asks Salesman who shot the child, she replies, “We don’t know.”

Police would learn later, however, that Bohannon told Salesman he accidentally shot the toddler, and Holtsclaw contended that the couple took the time to concoct a story blaming someone else for the shooting before they called 911.

The prosecutor also pointed out that Salesman has admitted to tossing Bohannon’s illegally purchased handgun into a nearby overgrown wooded area prior to calling 911. The couple then decided to blame the shooting on Salesman’s former husband.

Bohannon, who was separated from his wife, frequently kept the couple’s two young sons at the Midland home. In the early hours of the investigation, Bohannon told investigators he heard a “pop” and then saw his son slumped in the stroller. He claimed he had been in an altercation with Salesman’s ex-husband earlier in the day.

But Detective George Dellaire testified in court Friday that the evidence in the case did not confirm that a random bullet fired at a distance had struck the child. In fact, Dellaire said, he thought Bohannon was close to admitting his own guilt on the night of the shooting when the distraught father said, “You think I meant to do this? I’m a (expletive) idiot.”

Dellaire said investigators determined that gunpowder stipling found on the toddler’s head and the stroller indicated the bullet had been fired at a close distance, and the bullet’s path of travel showed the gun barrel was pointed down toward the child’s head.

Dellaire said Bohannon at first claimed to have fired a shotgun earlier in the day, but later confessed to accidentally shooting his son. The detective said he has given different stories about where he got the .38-caliber Taurus handgun.

Holtsclaw’s only other witness Friday was Marilyn Miller, maternal grandmother of Travis. She stated that she fears Bohannon will some day injure her daughter as well as his other son. She said Bohannon at one time threatened Jamie with a gun, and he has been abusive.

But when defense attorney Jim Riester called Jamie Bohannon to testify, she stated that since her husband’s arrest, he has become a different person and she doesn’t feel threatened by him. She said that during their marriage, Bohannon often helped her family with work or by giving money, and he was a hard worker when he was employed. But most of all, “He was a good dad with the kids,” she said.

“He does have another son out there that needs a role model,” she told Holtsclaw. “Not just a mom.”

But Holtsclaw, after hearing from Bohannon’s mother Carol about her oldest son’s own dysfunctional childhood at the hands of his manipulative father, asked her whether Bohannon could be a proper role model to his surviving son.

When he was 18, Bohannon was arrested for forgery and theft in Clay County. He served a brief prison term, and while he would not commit any more felonies, he did accumulate several misdemeanor convictions for driving while suspended, driving while unlicensed and for check deception. He was also connected to a 2009 burglary at a Clay County residence that resulted in the theft of the gun — the same gun used in the shooting death of his child.

While Bohannon told police he bought the gun from a man in Terre Haute, police traced it to the burglary. Witnesses reported seeing Salesman’s car at the burglary scene.

The judge also heard testimony from other relatives, all of whom offered Bohannon their support, and hopes that he get the counseling they said he needs.

Prior to making his sentence recommendation to the judge, Holtsclaw emphasized that before the 911 call was made, the couple talked about what they were going to say to authorities and they came up with someone to blame, while the injured child was barely breathing.

“That is the thing that is bothering me most about this,” the prosecutor said, briefly choking up as he spoke to the judge. “They had to come up with a story to keep themselves out of trouble.”

Defense attorney Riester argued that the death of the child was not intentional, and he argued that Bohannon’s prior criminal record should not be an aggravating factor since the felonies occurred 11 years ago.

Bohannon did address his family to say he was sorry.

“I’m sorry I didn’t come forward and tell the truth. I’ve had a long time to sit and think about why I did it,” he said, admitting it has been hard for him to realize he killed his own son. “I take full responsibility for what happened. I know I made a mistake.”

“Whatever the court decides, I deserve 100 percent,” he sobbed. “I die every day because my son’s not here.”

Judge Allen called the case “horrifying” and said Bohannon’s actions following the shooting are “indicative of poor character.”

Allen said the reckless homicide, which to him in this situation qualifies as the “worst of the worst” type of offense, deserved the fullest possible penalty of eight years in prison. He added fines and court costs of $260 on that charge., and granted credit for the 162 days of jail time Bohannon has already served. He set the penalty at seven years in prison for possession of a handgun without a license, which was enhanced from its usual class-A misdemeanor status to its class-C felony status due to Bohannon’s criminal record. That penalty also had a $100 fine, as did the class-D felony penalty of receiving stolen property, which received a two-year sentence to be served at the same time as the handgun possession sentence.

The judge also affirmed the five-year felony enhancement for a total sentence of 20 years.

However, if Bohannon receives credit for good behavior in prison, he could be released in less than 10 years.

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