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Novotny sentenced to prison for shooting death of Carter

Published 8:43am Monday, March 15, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Dowagiac Daily News

CASSOPOLIS – Andrew Novotny is headed to prison for his involvement in gunplay that resulted in the death of a Dowagiac man.

Novotny, a 24-year-old from Cassopolis, was sentenced to 34 months to 10 years in the Michigan Department of Corrections Friday in Cass County Circuit Court.

He pleaded guilty to six charges in January – obstruction of justice, accessory after the fact to felony, firearm possession by a felon, carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm toward or in a building and possessing a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

On Oct. 19, 2009, Novotny brought guns with him to a home on Morton Street in Wayne Township where he, Steven Graham and Patrick Carter began drinking.

Shots were fired by Graham and Novotny. Graham then shot Carter, a 2002 Marcellus High School graduate, resulting in injuries that led to his death.

Novotny attempted to cover up the evidence, took the weapons and fled the scene with Graham.

Mary Carter, Patrick’s mother, spoke at the sentencing.

“We don’t have my son no more,” she said. “He’s gone for good. If (Novotny) goes to prison, his family can still see him. He’s still alive. He’s well.”

She also said her son was just 26 years old and about to get married.

Defense attorney Jason Engram reminded Judge Michael Dodge that Novotny did not fire the shot that killed Carter and said he is apologetic.

“It was a horrible, absolutely bad accident – but it was an accident,” Engram said. “He did not shoot the victims. The guns are not his.”

Novotny was somber in his statements.

“I’d like to apologize to the Carter family,” he said. “If I could change what happened, I would. I’m not a bad man. I just made a bad decision. I have to live with those choices.”

Prosecutor Victor Fitz was aggressive in his sentencing comments.

“Guns are not toys,” Fitz continued. “They demand respect, not the cavalier way (Novotny) held them that day. He brought loaded weapons, designed with a specific purpose – to kill.”

Fitz also said after Carter was shot and lay mortally wounded, Novotny “tried to hide the evidence and ran like a coward.”

The fact that Novotny was on bond for previous felonies and was a habitual offender third affected his sentencing, according to Dodge.

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