The security guard who fired at least six of the 17 shots aimed at Dant’e Price in March 2012 is asking for early release from prison, a request strongly opposed by prosecutors.
Justin Wissinger, 28, is scheduled for a judicial release hearing Friday in front of Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Timothy O’Connell.
Wissinger and fellow Ranger Security guard Christopher Tarbert were each sentenced in 2012 to four years in prison for killing Price, 25, while Price was in his car at the Summit Square Apartments on March 1, 2012.
Because Wissinger was on electronic home detention before pleading guilty, he has spent less than two years in prison.
Wissinger’s attorney, Christopher Conard, wants O’Connell to consider the nearly two years Wissinger spent at home although house arrest does not count for jail time credit.
“It is a factor that we are asking the judge to consider because it is relevant, because there is a deprivation of liberty — the right to move freely — when one is placed on house arrest,” Conard told this news organization Thursday.
The guards tried to order Price out of his vehicle at gunpoint for a misdemeanor and then claimed Price — who was trespassed from the property — tried to run them over. They claiming self-defense and that their training from Ranger Security owner Ivan Burke led them to believe they had those rights.
Wissinger “blames everybody else, including his employer or his partner or his training or the property owner or the Dayton Police Department or even his victim, for the defendant’s own violent, criminal behavior (to which he entered guilty pleas),” Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Robert Deschler wrote in a response to Conard’s motion.
“Such continuous finger-pointing, even at this stage of his criminal proceedings, belies the defendant’s claim that he is genuinely remorseful for his admitted conduct,” Deschler wrote.
Wissinger and Tarbert each pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and abduction as part of a plea agreement where murder charges were dropped. Judge O’Connell could have sentenced both to prison terms of up to 11 years.
Tarbert, who did not make bail and stayed in Montgomery County Jail before the plea deal so he was eligible for jail-time credit, was released from prison June 26, 2016. He had one instance of being disruptive for disobeying a direct order, according to an Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) spokeswoman.
Wissinger is scheduled to serve until Oct.6, 2018, and has served some of his time in solitary confinement and some in protective custody, according to court documents.
Spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said no records or information on control status is available for security reasons and that the ODRC wouldn’t confirm or deny if inmates are in protective control or the reasons inmates attain that status.
Conard wrote that Wissinger is not eligible for some classes due to his protective status. Wissinger has not had any disciplinary issues in prison, according to Smith.
“It is ironic that he would characterize as ‘harder time’ the very prison practices apparently put in place to protect and preserve his life while he serves the prison sentence he earned by his violent criminal behavior,” Deschler wrote.
Conard wrote that Wissinger has been a model prisoner, was baptized, is a “father eager to begin worth, be a positive and productive member of society, and help care for his daughter by paying child support and being present in her life.”