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Six years added to prison time for 19-year-old convicted of murder

SoVaNow.com / September 01, 2021
After receiving 28 years in prison for the July 2019 murder of a Clarksville 20-year-old, Damian Ashworth was back in court Thursday for threatening the life of a former friend and prosecution witness in his criminal trial.

In February 2020, while in jail awaiting trial, Ashworth sought to have Juan Tucker killed for what he saw as Tucker’s disloyalty. Tucker later testified against Ashworth at his April trial for the murder of Anthony Raekwon Roberts, who died of gunshot wounds near his grandmother’s home in Clarksville. Ashworth was sentenced to 28 years in prison for the fatal shooting.

That prison time grew by six years this week as Mecklenburg Circuit Judge S. Anderson Nelson presided over the latest trial involving the 19-year-old defendant.

The most recent charges against Ashworth included single counts of attempted capital murder of a witness, conspiracy to comment capital murder of a witness, attempted malicious wounding, shooting into an occupied structure, conspiracy to shoot into an occupied structure, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, first offense, and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, second offense.

Under a plea agreement that Commonwealth’s Attorney Allen Nash reached with Ashworth’s lawyer, Greg Ullom, Ashworth was allowed to plead guilty to one count of attempted malicious wounding, one count of shooting into an occupied structure and one count of conspiracy to shoot into an occupied structure. The remaining charges were dismissed.

Nelson sentenced Ashworth to 10 years on the malicious wounding charge but suspended four years of that sentence, and ten years on each of the shooting into an occupied structure charges, while suspending all 20 years on those charges.

The result — active prison time of six years — will be served consecutively with Ashworth’s prior 28-year sentence, Nelson ordered.

According to Nash, jail officials recorded a phone conversation between Ashworth and a friend outside the facility in which Ashworth ordered a “hit” on Juan Tucker. Ashworth, who was locked up at the time, was not the shooter.

The friend, at Ashworth’s request, drove to Tucker’s home and fired several bullets into the house. Tucker was not injured.

Tucker had been a friend of Ashworth’s, but he angered Ashworth after agreeing to testify against him in the murder trial of Roberts, according to the prosecution.

Ashworth could have received a maximum punishment of two additional life sentences plus 28 years on the charges against him. As it is, Ashworth will be in his 50s when he is released from prison. He will be required to be of good behavior for the rest of his life, Nash said.

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