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Hartford man sentenced to 30 years for gunning down vet who survived two tours in Afghanistan

Judge's gavel in a courtroom, stack of law books. (wp paarz/Flickr)

Richard Holloway, 27, survived two tours in Afghanistan with the Connecticut Army National Guard, but died of a gunshot wound to the chest on a Hartford street after an argument with another man.

Holloway’s killer, Jesse Culbreath, 28, was sentenced Friday to 30 years in prison for the 2015 crime.

In September, a Hartford Superior Court jury acquitted Culbreath of the more serious crime of murder, but convicted him of first-degree manslaughter with a firearm, criminal possession of a gun, carrying a pistol without a permit, having a weapon in a motor vehicle and violating a protective order.

Richard Holloway Sr., the victim’s father, told Hartford Superior Court Judge David P. Gold of the irony of losing his son in his hometown rather than Afghanistan.

“I told him if he could make it over there, he’d be all right,” the elder Holloway said. “I wake up crying at night … wondering why this man took his life.”

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Holloway was a sergeant with the Connecticut Army National Guard’s 102nd Infantry Regiment.

Had the dispute only gone as far as a fist fight, Holloway said, both men would have been so much better off.

The shooting followed a dispute on Judson Street. Culbreath claimed he feared Holloway.

Culbreath told the judge, and Holloway’s family, that he was sorry for what he did and accepted responsibility.

The judge focused on the elder Holloway’s comments about how disputes that in the past might have been solved with fist fights too often escalate to gunfire.

“With guns, there’s no turning back, there’s no tomorrow,” Gold said.

The judge then turned his attention to Culbreath, a man with no prior criminal record. “You took a life,” he said. “And you just didn’t have to do that.”

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Gold then imposed the 30-year sentence.

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© 2018 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.