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A Jefferson City man was sentenced to prison Friday after a Cole County jury issued a split decision in his murder trial in March.

Jurors found Dana Day Jr., 31, not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of first-degree assault and second-degree assault in connection with a May 2017 shooting that left one man dead.

Day was found guilty of assaulting TaVeeon Fowler, 23, of Jefferson City, near the 700 block of Monroe Street. After the assault, Fowler was shot and later died from his injuries.

At Friday's sentencing, Cole County Presiding Judge Jon Beetem ordered Day to serve 25 years on the first-degree assault charge and 10 years on the second-degree assault charge, with the sentences to run concurrently.

Prosecutors had asked for 30 years or life imprisonment for the first-degree assault and 10 years on the second-degree assault and to have those run consecutively. Day's defense had asked for concurrent 10-year sentences on both counts.

Cole County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Fox read a letter from Fowler's mother Friday where. She said, "Losing a child is a parent's worst nightmare, but God knows best. I raised him as a single mother, and he was determined not to be like his father. He was always there for his children. To lose a person who lights up a room when they walk in is truly heartbreaking."

Also at Friday's hearing, Day's attorney, Public Defender Michael O'Brien, read a letter from the mother of Day's daughter, who had asked for some form of leniency for Day.

"He has been a good father and provider, even when he has been in jail," the mother wrote. "I ask that you give a sentence that will allow him to get out at a point where he would still be young enough to work and be involved in his daughter's life."

"It was not lost on this court that children were deprived of their fathers in this case," Beetem said. "The jury was presented with the opportunity to find that this was an act of self-defense, and they did not find that it was. The jury did not find you legally responsible for Mr. Fowler's death, and I assume that was because there was no evidence that you were the shooter in this case, and because of that I considered that in this sentencing."

Prosecutors said Nyarrius Day, who is Dana Day's sister and Fowler's ex-girlfriend, was driving a car with Fowler in the passenger seat and two children in the back seat on the night of the shooting. Nyarrius and Fowler were exchanging money he owed her, and Dana Day opened the driver's door and pulled Fowler across Nyarrius Day's lap. There was a struggle and fight, and ultimately Fowler was pulled out of the car and ended up on the pavement.

Prosecutors said Day and others then assaulted Fowler and shots were fired, hitting Fowler as he was running away.

Day's defense argued Fowler and Nyarrius Day had a "heated argument that became violent" the night before the incident occurred because Fowler had stolen money from her. They said Nyarrius Day called her brother because she believed he could protect her.

Nyarris Day said she agreed with her brother that Devon Skinner had shot at Fowler after the fight. Skinner, 26, of Milwaukee, was arrested in September 2020 on a Cole County warrant for unlawful use of weapons, armed criminal action and second-degree murder in the case. Skinner is scheduled to appear before Judge Beetem next month. Dana Day had testified that Skinner was a bystander, but authorities believe Skinner to be one of those who were with Day Jr. when Fowler was beat up.

Along with Skinner, Robert Farrow Jr., 28, of Jefferson City, was also arrested in September for his alleged involvement in Fowler's killing. Online court records show Farrow is scheduled to be in Cole County Judge Dan Green's court next week. He's facing second-degree murder, first-degree assault, armed criminal action, second-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm charges.

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