Randolph Garbutt to serve five more years for shooting a man and putting him in a wheelchair
A correction that appeared in Monday’ edition of the Minot Daily News contained incorrect information about the sentencing of Randolph Garbutt. The correction to the story in Friday’s edition was based on incorrect information about the sentence that was posted on the North Dakota Courts website on Friday afternoon indicating that Garbutt had been sentenced to 20 years, with five years suspended, for Class B felony aggravated assault. That information about the sentencing has now been corrected to state that Garbutt was sentenced to 20 years, with 15 years suspended, for the Class B felony.
Randolph Dashiell Garbutt, 29, will serve an additional five years for shooting a young man and putting him in a wheelchair for life and for pistol whipping the man’s roommate on Jan. 7, 2017.
Garbutt, who had been set to go to trial next week, took a plea deal and pleaded guilty to Class B felony aggravated assault and to Class C felony aggravated assault.
Judge Richard Hagar sentenced Garbutt to 20 years in prison on the B felony, with 15 years suspended, consecutive to a six year prison sentence that Garbutt is already serving at the state penitentiary for robbing the Cash Wise Grocery in Minot just before he and Javontez Denane Barnes went over to the victim’s apartment. Hagar sentenced Garbutt to five years in prison for the C felony of pistol whipping the young woman, concurrent with the sentence for the shooting. Garbutt must serve 85 percent of his sentence and will be on three years of supervised probation when he is released from prison.
Special prosecutor Kelly Dillon said she filed to label Garbutt a dangerous special offender, which means the judge is able to double the sentence. The normal maximum sentence for a B felony is 10 years.
At the sentencing hearing, the shooting victim, Cody Davis, 27, expressed his rage at Garbutt and at the relatively light sentence. Davis told the judge that he is in constant pain and has lost his purpose in life. He showed Garbutt the scars on his body and told the judge he should look at his medical records before he sentenced Garbutt. Davis told the judge he died five times and was brought back and now it seems that his life is worth less because he survived. He told the judge that the charge should be attempted murder. Davis’s mother and brother also expressed anger over the sentence and told the judge how difficult life has been for Davis and his family since the shooting.
Dillon told the judge that there were problems with the case that could have meant a guilty verdict would have been in doubt. She said she has to try the case based on evidence rather than emotion. Garbutt’s defense attorney, Steven Mottinger, concurred with Dillon. The prosecution and defense made a joint sentencing recommendation which Hagar adopted.
The details of the case have been murky from the start. According to court documents, Barnes and Garbutt went over to the apartment shortly after 4 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2017 and told Davis’s roommate that they were looking for Barnes’ phone. They went into the woman’s bedroom and started going through her drawers. The woman went to confront them. She was later found unconscious under the table with facial fractures. Davis was found near death on the landing and had been shot through the lungs and the spinal cord.
Davis told the judge in court on Friday that he had thought Garbutt and Barnes were his friends and he had never been anything but good to them. Davis admitted that he had smoked pot with them but said he has never been involved in hard drugs and had not done anything to provoke the attack.
Garbutt apologized to Davis and his family in court on Friday and claimed that he had been trying to avoid the situation that night.
The state had originally charged Barnes with attempted murder and Garbutt for accomplice to attempted murder for the incident. Prosecutors then dropped the attempted murder charge against Garbutt and gave Garbutt a plea deal in exchange for his testimony against Barnes. However, the state later decided it had been wrong in its theory of which of the two men had assaulted the young woman and young man. The state dropped the attempted murder charge against Barnes, refiled lesser aggravated assault charges against Garbutt and then gave Barnes a plea deal. Barnes is currently serving 10 years in prison for burglarizing the apartment as well as for three unrelated reckless endangerment charges.