Polk motorcycle gang-related shooting: Man gets 17 years for firing gun at vehicle carrying family of 4

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Prosecutors were seeking 30 years in prison, but state sentencing guidelines called for Aaron Chad Delaune, 27, to receive a lesser 15-year sentence.

BARTOW — A Louisiana man convicted in January of firing two gunshots into an SUV carrying a family to a birthday celebration was sentenced to 17 years in prison Friday for four counts of attempted manslaughter.

Prosecutors were seeking 30 years in prison, but state sentencing guidelines called for Aaron Chad Delaune, 27, to receive a lesser 15-year sentence.

In sentencing Delaune, who prosecutors argued had fired the shots to elevate his status with his brothers in the Kinfolk Motorcycle Club, Circuit Judge Keith Spoto ordered that he should undergo a psychological evaluation.

“I don’t know what causes people to fire guns for no reason in public,” the judge said, “but I’m going to try to rule out anything psychological.”

During Friday’s brief hearing, before Spoto imposed sentence, Delaune apologized for what he had done.

“I would like to apologize for the misunderstanding and the mistake that I made September 1 of 2018,” he said. “I overreacted to a situation that broke into my instinct, and again, overreacted to the fact.

“I have heard that the family did not want restitution from me, but I would still like to offer something to the family, also with my apology, if it’s OK. I would also like to apologize for my actions to Polk County and to the state of Florida.”

During the three-day trial in January, Delaune testified that he wasn’t a member of the Kinfolk Motorcycle Club, which law enforcement officers described as a criminal motorcycle gang.

Delaune said the jacket bearing the group’s insignia that was found in his car the day of the shooting, along with other gang-related items, belonged to someone else.

On that September afternoon, Delaune was traveling in his 2015 Dodge Charger along Havendale Boulevard in Auburndale, following a group on motorcycles. Nearby, Angel Manuel Tirado Estien, 47, had swerved his 1999 Dodge Durango into Delaune’s lane, separating him from the motorcyclists.

Delaune then raised his .380-caliber pistol and fired two shots into the Durango, according to court testimony. No one inside the Durango was hurt, including Estien’s wife and two young children.

In his trial testimony, Delaune said a window in his car shattered as the Durango pulled over, and he thought he was being fired upon. That prompted him to return fire.

But in a 2018 statement to Auburndale police, Delaune had said the shattered window in his car had no connection to the Auburndale incident.

Prosecutors had been seeking convictions for attempted second-degree murder, but jurors had found Delaune guilty of the lesser attempted manslaughter charges.

In addition to the prison term, Spoto sentenced him to five years’ probation upon his release from prison.

Delaune has remained in custody at the Polk County Jail since his arrest in September of 2018.

 

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Suzie Schottelkotte
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theledger.com




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