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Jason Gowers, one of three Louisville teenagers charged in connection with a homicide, was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday for his role in the slaying, which the judge described as “horrendous.”
Gowers went before Circuit Judge Kelly Mark Easton for sentencing after pleading guilty in March to charges of complicity to commit murder and complicity to tamper with physical evidence.
Gowers was arrested and charged in connection with the November killing of 18-year-old Mackenzie Smyser along with teens Ryan Wilt and Connor Galenski.
Prosecutors say the three drove Smyser to Patriot Lane near Ky. 313 under the pretense of committing a burglary, where they instead shot him. The men allegedly planned the killing because Smyser had been paid by Wilt for a gun that was not received, authorities have said.
Wilt and Galenski are scheduled to stand trial Oct. 10.
Gowers was sentenced to 30 years for complicity to commit murder and five years for complicity to tamper with physical evidence, which he will serve concurrently.
“I think you should serve every day of this 30 years and I hope you do,” Easton told Gowers.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Heather Paynter told Easton that the four were considered friends and that Smyser’s family had welcomed the three into their home.
“This is one of the most horrific killings I’ve ever had to deal with,” Paynter said.
Smyser’s family declined to address the court, but submitted statements. They were not read aloud, but Easton indicated he had read them.
Family members were present and one began to cry as the crime was described.
After Paynter spoke, Easton asked Gowers if he had anything he wanted to say. Gowers said no, but Easton pressed the matter. Gowers again declined to speak.
“That actually doesn’t surprise me,” Easton said of Gowers’ silence.
Easton recounted some details of the case. After Gowers, Wilt and Galenski brought Smyser to the Radcliff area, Galenski allegedly shot Smyser in the face and the three left him there. But Smyser was still alive and he phoned a friend for help.
The friend, however, informed Gowers, Wilt and Galenski that Smyser was still alive, according to details from a probable cause hearing in the case. The three went back and, as Easton described in the courtroom, despite Smyser’s pleas to spare his life, Gowers shot him three times.
“The nature of the crime is horrendous,” Easton said.
Easton said he believed Gowers would commit other crimes if he were not removed from society, as “he appears to have no conscience or remorse.”
Easton said Gowers’ silence when he had a chance to speak showed he was “incorrigible.”
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.