SHERIDAN — A 35-year-old New York man was sentenced in 4th Judicial District Court to a minimum 28-month prison sentence, with maximum of 60-months, Thursday after the man pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault and battery as part of a plea agreement.
Sheridan Police Department officers arrested Shawn McAvoy on Aug. 24, 2018 after witnesses said he broke a full glass whiskey bottle over another man’s head during a fight at the Bramble Inn on North Main Street, according to court documents.
Sheridan County Prosecuting Attorney Dianna Bennett said McAvoy had originally agreed to a plea bargain that called for a prison sentence between two and five years, but McAvoy got into a fight in jail after that agreement, which resulted in an additional four months added to his minimum sentence.
As part of his sentence, Judge John Fenn also ordered McAvoy to pay $7,661.01 in restitution, and $310 in fines and court costs.
Fenn spent much of the sentencing hearing weighing delaying sentencing to order McAvoy undergo a mental health screening to determine whether he was mentally competent.
McAvoy admitted he has a history of mental illness, insisted he was competent and urged Fenn to proceed with sentencing.
During the hearing, McAvoy frequently spoke out of turn and swore while addressing Fenn despite warnings from his attorney, Ryan Healy.
Healy said while he is aware McAvoy is battling mental health and substance abuse issues, he does not believe those issues have compromised McAvoy’s competency.
“In this particular case, I do not feel (a competency evaluation) is necessary,” Healy said. “Whenever I speak with Shawn, we have very coherent and productive, I think, conversations.”
He added that he was confident McAvoy could receive the necessary treatment in prison.
Bennett offered a similar assessment.
“You can suffer from mental illness and still have competency,” Bennett said.
Fenn ultimately decided to trust Healy’s assessment, noting that Healy has not been shy about calling for competency evaluations when he believed they were necessary in the past. He added that while impulsive, McAvoy was lucid and fully aware of the proceedings during the sentencing.
McAvoy also had a battery charge out of Sheridan County Circuit Court and pleaded no contest to the charge Thursday. Per a plea agreement, the court sentenced him to 120 days of incarceration to run concurrently with his charges in district court.
McAvoy will serve his sentence in the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlings.