Putnam man convicted in shooting that wounded sheriff’s deputy

A Putnam County man was convicted late Wednesday of wounding a sheriff’s deputy there with 12-gauge shotgun blasts last fall.

After a three-day trial, jurors deliberated nearly five hours, until about midnight, and found Donovan Ray Dann guilty of two aggravated assault charges in a November encounter that left deputy Barak Wood with shotgun pellet injuries to his shoulder, face and hand.

Dann, 24, was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison, plus 20 more on probation. He was ordered to pay restitution for medical bills related to the beating of his girlfriend, Jessica Tanner.

Wood had been some 50 yards away when Dann opened fire on the heels of a domestic dispute with Tanner the evening of Nov. 26, 2014, on Crooked Creek Road, just north of Lake Sinclair.

Wood was shot at twice and struck by shotgun spray both times. The deputy returned fire but didn’t hit Dann, who hid and turned himself in later that night.

At trial, Dann testified that it was dark. He said he hadn’t known he was firing in the presence of a deputy.

He had been charged with three counts of aggravated assault, including the somewhat more serious aggravated assault on a peace officer. But jurors found him not guilty on that count, which carries a minimum five-year prison term compared to the one-year minimum for ordinary aggravated assault.

Dann also faced one count of falsely imprisoning Tanner, and another charge of third-degree child cruelty because his 2-year-old daughter was at the house. He was acquitted of both charges.

In his closing argument, District Attorney Fred Bright implored jurors to convict Dann on all counts for an outburst that saw Dann fire four times on two victims.

“Twice at his girlfriend he had just beaten the stew out of,” Bright said, and twice at Wood.

Early Thursday, Putnam Sheriff Howard Sills seemed deflated by the verdict.

“Obviously, I would have liked to have seen the jury find (Dann) guilty of aggravated assault on a peace officer. We feel that he knew he was firing on a deputy,” Sills said.

“I respect the jury’s verdict, but I’d be shocked if he did more than four years before he’s paroled.”

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Joe Kovac Jr., call 744-4397.