A man who pleaded guilty to shooting and killing his friend while they were drinking inside of a Springfield home received a three-year prison sentence on Friday.
Dustin Olwin, 29, of 932 Barker Drive, pleaded guilty June 17 to involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony. In exchange for the guilty plea, charges of reckless homicide, negligent homicide and using weapons while intoxicated were dismissed.
Olwin was charged in connection with the December 2013 shooting death of his friend Eric M. Wheeler. Wheeler was shot and killed while the two were drinking and hanging out at Olwin’s home.
In a 9-1-1 call from the night of the shooting, a woman on the phone with dispatchers said they were “screwing around” with guns when Wheeler was “accidentally” shot in the abdomen.
Melissa Reisinger, Wheeler’s mother, said after the sentencing that her son had never been interested in firearms.
“Eric was not screwing around with guns,” Reisinger said. “The one who pulled the trigger was screwing around with a gun. He’s the one who had a past.”
Olwin has been convicted of OVI charges in 2008 and 2010. On the night of the shooting, Olwin’s blood alcohol content was 0.193 and toxicology results concluded other drugs, including cocaine, were found in his system.
Wheeler was a Northeastern High School graduate. He was a member of the power lifting and footballs teams. His stepfather, Tim Reisinger, was his power lifting coach for four years and Wheeler wore Tim Reisinger’s number on his football jersey, which has now been retired in Wheeler’s memory.
In the court room Friday morning, the judge asked Olwin if he had anything to say. Olwin stood and turned to address Wheeler’s family and apologized.
“I’m just so sorry,” Olwin said. “I know that’s not going to bring him back, but I’m so sorry.”
Olwin’s defense attorney had initially argued that the shooting was an accident and shouldn’t be punished by jail time. But Clark County Judge Douglas Rastatter disputed that.
“So it doesn’t appear to the court that this was an accident so much as the inevitable result of your pattern of reckless behavior,” Rastatter said.
Clark County Prosecutor Andrew Wilson explained that a shooting that wasn’t intended still doesn’t mean it was an accident.
“When you engage in reckless behavior, you are criminally responsible for the results of your behavior,” he said. “Getting high and drunk and then handling a firearm is without a doubt reckless behavior.”
In addition to the three-year sentence, Olwin will be placed on three years probation after his release from prison.
Wheeler’s family began a memorial scholarship fund through Fifth Third Bank in their son’s name. Three Clark County students have already received money from the funds this year, Melissa Reisinger said. Family and friends hope the scholarship will help keep Wheeler’s name alive, she said.
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