One of two men involved in a chaotic parking lot shootout outside a Roanoke motel last fall will have to serve just shy of a year behind bars.
On Monday, three months after he was found guilty of shooting into an occupied dwelling, Justin Thomas Meade was sentenced by a judge to serve 11 months.
Evidence has shown that on Oct. 25, Meade was working on his car outside the Days Inn on Orange Avenue when he was attacked by another man, backed by a small mob.
While a clear reason for the fight has not been established, it emerged during the trial that the group knew a relative of Meade’s.
Security video footage played in court showed that Meade, 23, was chased around the lot and beaten, primarily scuffling with the other man, who was armed with a distinctive pink pistol.
Toward the end of the melee, Meade was suddenly struck by a small sports car, which hit him and kept going. He got to his feet and, as he reached his own car, drew a gun and fired at his main attacker, who quickly ducked into a motel room.
As Meade drove away, the man re-emerged from the room and appeared to shoot at his car.
Soon after the incident, Meade and another man — David Hunter Wills, 25, of Moneta — were charged with attempted murder, attempted malicious wounding, shooting into an occupied dwelling and two related gun offenses.
Meade took his case to a bench trial on March 23 and was convicted only of the charge of shooting into a dwelling.
“Mr. Meade did not want to be a part of what happened that day,” public defender Drew Givens argued Monday. “He was attacked by Mr. Wills and multiple people.”
“The only time he fired that weapon is after he was shot at,” Givens maintained.
Assistant prosecutor John McNeil has previously said that Wills was “clearly the aggressor” in the conflict, but on Monday he called the video “shocking.”
“There were multiple people in that building when the bullets started flying,” McNeil said.
Judge Onzlee Ware acknowledged that Meade “took a beating, I don’t deny that,” but he also felt that Meade fired his gun when he could have simply fled.
“Nobody’s got clean hands here,” Ware said in court. “It’s a miracle no one got shot.”
Meade’s sentencing guidelines ranged from 11 months to two years and seven months, which put his punishment at the low end. He will be on probation for one year after his release and must remain drug- and alcohol-free during that time, Ware ordered.
Wills’ bench trial is currently set for July 14. Ware said Monday he will not preside over that case.