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Kingsport man sentenced to 14 years in shooting death of son

BECKY CAMPBELL • Jan 30, 2007 at 9:57 AM

BLOUNTVILLE - A Kingsport man will spend 14 years in prison for the 2004 shooting death of his son and for injuring his son's girlfriend, a judge ruled Monday.

Delmar Hugh Laughlin, 65, has been jailed since shooting his son on June 27, 2004, after the younger Laughlin returned to the house they shared following a domestic disturbance.

Delmar Dewayne Laughlin, 37, died on the front porch of his Fordtown Road home after police had ordered him to leave the residence to let the domestic situation cool down.

Delmar Hugh Laughlin was convicted after a three-day trial in September 2006 of voluntary manslaughter for the death of Delmar Dewayne Laughlin and attempted second-degree murder for shooting his son's girlfriend, Mary Carla Clark.

The incident leading to the shooting began around 7 a.m. that summer day when the elder Laughlin called his ex-wife and told her that his stomach hurt.

Police were called, and when officers arrived Laughlin told them that his son, Delmar Dewayne Laughlin, had assaulted him and he wanted his son and Clark to leave.

Officers asked the younger Laughlin if he could go somewhere else for a while until his father calmed down, and he left walking down the driveway with Clark.

The officer left but was dispatched back to the location after Laughlin called 911 upset because he said his son took the keys to a truck at the house. Before the officer could get back to the house, Laughlin called 911 a third time to report that he had shot his son.

When officers arrived, they saw Clark lying on the ground beside a truck in the yard and heard her yelling for help.

A reserve officer went to her aid while deputies went toward Laughlin, who was kneeling over his son.

Officers said Laughlin was armed with a pistol on his side and two knives strapped to each leg.

Laughlin told investigators that Clark pulled a weapon on him earlier that morning and was cursing at him.

He said after the police left he saw his son and Clark walk out of the woods and toward the house.

They proceed to get closer and Laughlin fired several shots, at least one that hit Clark. As his son continued to walk toward the porch, Laughlin fired another shot that hit Dewayne Laughlin in the abdomen.

Laughlin had faced three to six years in prison on the voluntary manslaughter and eight to 12 years in prison on the attempted second-degree murder conviction.

Circuit Judge Jerry Beck denied alternative sentencing and ordered Laughlin to serve a total of 14 years - four years for his son's death and 10 years on the attempted second-degree murder - behind bars.

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