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Woman to serve 4 years in shooting

CONYERS - A woman who shot another woman as a result of a domestic dispute was sentenced to serve four years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday in Rockdale County Superior Court.

Superior Court Judge David Irwin ordered Betty Louise West to serve the first four years of a 20-year sentence on charges of aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

A dozen friends and family members, including the victim in the case, asked for the judge to consider a sentence that did not include prison time.

Assistant District Attorney Debra Sullivan said the victim did not want to see the defendant in prison but added the "state feels you can't shoot someone and expect probation."

The victim, who is still recovering from a gunshot wound, told the judge she had forgiven West and did not think prison would help in the woman's rehabilitation. West has no prior criminal record.

West, 42, expressed remorse, adding she did not know what happened the day of the incident and doesn't "even remember pulling the trigger."

"The bottom line difficulty the court has is that you shot someone," the judge told West. "I have no doubt you are sincere in your remorse and I believe everything your friends and family told me, but you can't shoot someone and not expect serious repercussions."

The charges stem from a domestic dispute that occurred in February at a residence on Pine Street that resulted in the victim being shot in the abdomen.

The victim was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center via air ambulance and has undergone a number of surgeries as a result of her wound, with additional surgeries still pending.

"The problem seems to be everyone wants a gun," Irwin said. "I'll never understand how it is that people who reportedly care about each other resort to violence when a relationship becomes tenuous."

Ric Latarski can be reached at ric.latarski@rockdalecitizen.com.