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Jury recommends four years for Lynchburg man found guilty of voluntary manslaughter

Found not guilty of second-degree murder, firearms charges


LYNCHBURG, Va.UPDATE

Two families left Lynchburg Circuit Courthouse torn on Wednesday. One mother will never get to see her son again and the other will have to visit her son in jail.

A jury has found Tyler Dabney 20 years old guilty after he reportedly shot and killed 32-year-old Benjamin Friar, a local realtor, in November.

The jury said Dabney is guilty of voluntary manslaughter.

The jury recommended a sentence of four years behind bars. The maximum sentence for voluntary manslaughter in the commonwealth is 10 years.

"My job is not to lock people up. My job is to do justice, to play all the evidence out there for the jury, and this was the jury’s decision. So we respect that,” Jennifer Bennett with the Lynchburg commonwealth attorney office said.

Dabney, 18 at the time, was originally charged with second-degree murder and the use of a gun in the commission of a felony, but was found not guilty on those charges.

“I’m relieved that it wasn’t second degree because my son is not a murderer. I’m upset that it was anything because I just feel that he did what he had to do in the situation. Even though someone lost a child. I lost my child as well,” Brandi Drew, Dabney’s mother, said.

In court, investigators say Friar went to Greenfield Apartments on Longview Road to buy drugs from Dabney.

Police and witnesses testified a fight broke out before Friar was shot multiple times.

In court, we learned the men knew each other well and Friar came to Dabney’s apartment several times a week to purchase marijuana.

Friar’s mother admits her son battled with schizo-effective, which she says gave him anxiety and that he smoked pot to help him relax.

Tyler told police that night he asked Friar to leave his sister’s home, but Friar became aggressive and refused.

Dabney apologized to the Friar family saying, “I am sorry for your lost. I want to ask for your forgiveness.”

Dabney’s attorney says it was an accidental shooting and done in self-defense.

”I don’t know that I can really speak for Tyler other than to say he’s sorry that any of this happened. I know I can say that for him. He never wanted any of this to happen. And I think he’s told everybody that it only happened because he was scared,” Joseph Sazone, Dabney’s attorney, said.

Friar’s family declined interviews today.

Dabney’s sentencing is scheduled for Apr. 22.


ORIGINAL STORY

A jury is still listening to the details of a murder trial for a Lynchburg man.

Police say in Nov. 2018, Tyler Dabney shot and killed 32-year-old Benjamin Friar.

In court, investigators say Friar went to Longview Road to buy drugs from Dabney.

Police and witnesses testified a fight broke out before Friar was shot multiple times.

Tyler told police that night he asked Friar to leave his sister’s home, but Friar became aggressive and refused.

Dabney’s attorney says it was an accidental shooting and done in self-defense.

“This case involves the interesting issue of what a person can do when someone is in their home and is told to leave, not wanted in a home with their permission,” said Joseph Sanzone, Dabney’s defense attorney.

The jury is expected to reach a verdict on Wednesday.


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