A teen who conducted a drive by shooting as revenge for a fist fight he lost in 2018 will have to wait till next week to find out how long he might be imprisoned.
Dillon Zachary Jeffers was taken out of the 15th state District Court Friday in handcuffs, and Judge Jim Fallon revoked the 18-year-old’s bond after accepting his guilty plea on a number of charges including theft of a firearm, theft of property, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of deadly conduct discharging a firearm.
Jeffers pleaded guilty to the charges earlier this year.
Fallon was in the middle of producing his sentencing decision when Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Kerye Ashmore asked to approach the bench. All of the attorneys quickly gathered around Fallon’s bench, and many minutes later, Fallon called for a recess. When the attorneys and the judge returned from the recess, Fallon told Jeffers the sentencing would be continued next week.
Before he was interrupted, Fallon said he had been impressed during the hearing with the changes Jeffers has made in his life since he got out of the Grayson County Jail earlier this year. Jeffers had been jailed after he was arrested for driving by a house in the 900 block of West Walker Street on June 30, 2018 and opening fire with a handgun that Jeffers had stolen the night before.
Jeffers and others testified that the shooting, which lucky didn’t leave anyone physically getting hurt, had been in retaliation for a beating Jeffers had taken at the hands of the resident of the house. The two had fought because Jeffers had sold the man some drugs that turned out to be fake.
During the hearing, Assistant Grayson County District Attorney Matt Rolston played a video of Jeffers interacting with the police officers who arrested him at his job days after the shooting. Jeffers cursed and fought at the officers vehemently. Pottsboro Police Officer Jason Coley said Jeffers was at his job at Tanglewood when he was arrested.
“For a young man of his age,” Coley said, “he (Jeffers) has a very broad vulgar vocabulary.”
On the tape played in court, Jeffers appeared to use the f-word every other word or so and punctuated those words with his middle finger on more than one occasion.
Jeffers’ attorney Gary Corely asked Coley if Jeffers appeared to be intoxicated or high at the time of the arrest and Coley said the teen appeared to be mad.
Rolston called Jeffers to the stand and Jeffers admitted, once again, that he had committed the crime. But he balked when Rolston said the crime was planned. Jeffers said he stole the gun and he was guilty of shooting at the house, but he wasn’t particularly shooting at the windows in hopes of hitting anyone. The teen also admitted that he was so drugged up that he probably couldn’t think that through very clearly at the time.
Though Jeffers contended he simply wanted to scare the guy who had beat him up, Rolston argued if that were the case, Jeffers would have shot in the air or at the ground.
Jeffers did apologize to the guy and his girlfriend who had been in house at the time of the shooting.
“It was a terrible thing I did,” he said looking out at the pair. “I know I probably can’t even do anything to make it right.”
He said he had been doing drugs since the 8th grade and was heavily into cocaine in 2018.
But, the six months that he spent in jail on the drive-by related charges had been good for him, he said. He left that confinement and entered a rehab program where he remains.
He said he hasn’t used drugs since he was arrested.
A number of other people testified to his good behavior and progress at the Refuge of Hope. They say he does exactly as he is told and is always where they tell him to be and doing what he is told to do. He has a job at Jeff’s Auto Aales and is going to school at Grayson College. He got his GED after bonding out of jail.
Jeffers said it is all due to his finding God while in jail.
Fallon said he believes Jeffers is earnest in his belief in God and in his desire to stay on the straight and narrow, but the judge worries about what will happen if something were to lean the youngster astray.
The judge said the crime was so dangerous that the only thing that kept him from throwing the book at Jeffers was shooter’s youth.
Fallon said he doesn’t think 17-year-old male brain is capable of comprehending the deadly results that were possible from the actions Jeffers took that day.
“I don’t think you are scared enough,” Fallon said to Jeffers. Then the judge appeared ready to sentence Jeffers to prison with the option of applying for shock probation when Ashmore asked to speak at the bench.
The shock probation would have allowed Jeffers attorneys to petition the court to let Jeffers out of prison after a short stay providing he complied with the probation requirements.
In the end, Fallon sentenced Jeffers to six months in state jail each on the counts of theft. But Fallon said he would give Jeffers credit for time served on those charges. Still, he had Jeffers taken into custody as a precaution because he had been told he was facing prison time of some duration.
Just how long Jeffers will go to prison and what will happen then remains to be seen when the case is rescheduled next week.