A man who fatally shot another man during a 2016 dispute at a South Anchorage gas station has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison, after his guilty plea on manslaughter charges.
Andrew Robertson-Goughnour, 30, received a sentence Wednesday of 20 years in prison with 11 and a half years suspended for killing 19-year-old Brandon Merritt, according to an Alaska Department of Law statement.
Robertson-Goughnour was initially charged with first-degree and second-degree murder in Merritt’s May 24, 2016 death, at a Holiday station on Abbott Road. Prosecutors said Robertson-Goughnour was at a gas pump carrying a .45-caliber pistol on his hip, while Merritt was sitting in the front seat of a car at the station.
The two men did not previously know each other, prosecutors said.
“According to eyewitness accounts, a verbal dispute between the two men escalated when Merritt came out of his vehicle,” prosecutors said. “Although Merritt was unarmed, Robertson-Goughnor drew his pistol.”
Merritt’s friends got out of the car and told Robertson-Goughnour to put away his gun, as the two men continued to argue.
“This culminated in Robertson-Goughnour firing a single hollow-point round into Merritt’s chest, fatally wounding him,” prosecutors said. “Forensic testing revealed Merritt was 18 inches to 30 inches from the muzzle of the gun when the fatal shot was fired.”
Robertson-Goughnour claimed that he shot Merritt because his friends had approached, according to the statement, and because he thought they were saying “disrespectful things” about his girlfriend. But prosecutors said no other eyewitnesses, including his girlfriend, could verify that claim at the time of the shooting.
Under the sentence for aggravated manslaughter, handed down by Superior Court Judge Peter Ramgren, Robertson-Goughnour will also spend five years on probation when he is released. He will also forfeit the right to possess a firearm for the rest of his life.