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Jennings gets 10 years in jail

A 57-year-old Pamplin man will spend 10 years in jail after entering a guilty plea Friday in Prince Edward Circuit Court in connection with the death of 54-year-old Douglass Wheeler.

Jennings pled guilty to aggravated malicious wounding, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and a non-violent felon in possession of a firearm.

“The first-degree murder charges were dropped due to the nature of the investigation, lack of physical proof against the defendant and the burden of proof necessary to prove the elements for first-degree murder,” said Prince Edward Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark.

“Because of Jennings’ entering a guilty plea to possession of an actual firearm, the commonwealth decided not to proceed with the possession of ammunition charge,” Clark said.

Jennings received an active sentence of 10 years in prison, five of which are mandatory due to the weapons offenses, Clark said.

He also received additional jail time that was suspended and was ordered to be of good behavior for 20 years following his release. Jennings will be on supervised probation for 10 years after his release, according to Clark.

Jennings was a passenger in Wheeler’s vehicle on Thanksgiving Day 2015 when the vehicle crashed. Wheeler, who police say lost control of the vehicle, later died of injuries sustained from a gunshot wound to the back of his head.

Jennings was arrested at the scene, along with Robert Dominic Anthony Warren, who was also a passenger in the vehicle.

Warren was previously sentenced to a suspended five years in prison and 10 years supervised probation on a charge of being an accessory after the fact.

Jennings was initially charged with first-degree murder and possession of ammunition.