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story.lead_photo.caption Jaquan Whirley

A Jefferson City man was sentenced to seven years in prison, with credit for any time served, after pleading guilty to charges he faced in two separate shooting cases.

Jaquan Whirley, 19, was sentenced during a hearing before Cole County Judge Cotton Walker. Whirley was involved in the the March 2020 shooting of an 18-year-old woman in Jefferson City.

Court officials said Whirley pleaded guilty to first-degree assault while prosecutors dismissed charges of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action against him.

Whirley shot the woman in the back, according to charging documents. The incident occurred in the 1200 block of Jefferson Street, according to a Jefferson City Police Department probable cause statement.

The woman told police she was at Phillips 66 on Stadium Boulevard before being shot. Prior to leaving the store, she said, she saw several individuals exit a black SUV and stare at her. She said once the group pulled off the lot, she thought they began to follow her. It was at that time she claimed she heard several gunshots and then felt a pain in her back.

Video footage obtained from Phillips 66 showed Whirley exit the driver's side of the vehicle and walk inside the store. He was seen wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the visible outline of a gun in the front pocket, authorities said. Authorities said they recognized Whirley from other contacts with him in the past.

When Whirley left the store, the video shows him getting back into the driver's seat of the SUV. The vehicle then followed the vehicle the woman was traveling in as it left the parking lot.

Authorities also obtained surveillance video from the Break Time station across the street on Stadium Boulevard, which showed Whirley's vehicle following the woman's vehicle through the roundabout and going north on Jefferson Street.

A witness who lives in the area where the shooting occurred told police they heard several gunshots and saw a black SUV fleeing the area at high speed, going down Swifts Highway from Jefferson Street.

Officers recovered nine 9mm Luger shell casings and two bullet fragments in the 1200 block of Jefferson Street.

Whirley also pleaded guilty to a charge in connection with a shooting that happened in 2018. He pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a weapon while prosecutors dismissed a charge of armed criminal action against him.

According to Jefferson City Police Department reports, officers were called Dec. 4, 2018, to the 300 block of Case Avenue. Authorities said the incident began as a disturbance and led to subjects firing guns.

There were 14 shell casings found; a residence and vehicles were hit. One person was injured but did not require transportation to a hospital. Since that time, JCPD detectives worked to find any suspects in the case.

A JCPD probable cause statement indicates, using Whirley's phone for evidence, investigators found texts between Whirley and a witness which implicated Whirley "performed the shooting on Case Street."

In January, authorities attempted to interview Whirley, but he declined to make a statement.

In May, detectives interviewed the witness in the case who said she remembered texting Whirley about the shooting and she had a conversation with Whirley about the shooting where he admitted to committing the crime.

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