PRINEVILLE, Ore. - A 26-year-old Prineville man facing a murder charge in a September 2015 fatal shooting in Juniper Canyon was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to lesser charges in what authorities called a drug deal gone wrong.
Michael Donovan, who was due to go on trial in May on a murder charge, was sentenced by Crook County Circuit Judge Daniel Ahern on his guilty pleas to second-degree manslaughter and a conditional guilty plea, or Alford plea, to first-degree attempted assault.
Donovan, who shot Christmas Valley resident James Ross Scott in the head while while the victim was in a car in Juniper Canyon, also faced the attempted assault charge, accusing him of trying to kill Scott's girlfriend, Kindr Bork.
He will also face three years of post-prison supervision upon release from prison.
Donovan did not speak in court during the sentencing, but the victim's father, David Scott, took issue with the resolution of the case, said District Attorney Daina Vitolins.
A second man, Justin Rennels, of Portland, later was charged with murder in the case, but pleaded guilty last fall to first-degree attempted assault. He was given three years probation and if he violates the conditions, he faces two years in prison.
Vitolins said the case was challenging because Bork was not truthful when first contacted by police, saying they had gotten into an argument that early morning at a Prineville 7-Eleven and "essentially were hunted down."
Police later determined Scott had arranged a drug deal for methamphetamine. Vitolins said the buyers tried to use the purported meth "and figure out it's junk. That's why they decided to go after them."
"The main witnesses to the event told different stories and outright lied to us at the beginning," Vitolins said. "Justin Rennels actually was acquainted with Scott and Bork."
Vitolins said in court she knew Scott's family would be unhappy about the sentence, but that it was likely the manslaughter conviction and 10-year sentence would have been the jury's decision, if the murder charge had gone to trial.
"Everybody involved had a criminal record," she said. "One main witness we can't even find. Ms. Bork never responded to the victims' advocate or to me -- told a different story to everybody. The judge told Donovan in court we were here today 'because you needed to use methamphetamine at 3 a.m.’"