Mesnard Receives Four-Year Prison Term

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Published on September 10 2013 6:55 pm
Last Updated on September 10 2013 6:56 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Local resident Byron Mesnard was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday for aggravated discharge of a firearm.  One of the shots fired by Mesnard struck and wounded another local man, 24-year-old Shane Gephart. 

The incident occurred in the early morning hours of September 30, 2012 at Mesnard's residence along Funkhouser Road in the Boggsville community.  Gephart had gone to the home to see Brandi Arnold, now Mesnard's fiance.  As Gephart was leaving, Mesnard fired up to one dozen shots with a rifle.  As Gephart crouched beside his truck, several of the shots struck the truck.  Gephart then tried to flee on foot and other shots followed, one striking Gephart in the leg.

When authorities reached the scene, they found Gephart injured and Mesnard, now 21, suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  Both men are still recovering from their wounds.

It was established during the sentencing hearing that Mesnard was heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident.  Defense attorney Lou Viverito suggested his client should receive probation and inpatient treatment care for his alcohol use.  David Rands of the Illinois State's Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor's Service asked for prison time due to the number of shots fired and since Gephart was trying to flee the scene when shot.

Judge James Eder said he took note of Mesnard's troubled upbringing, and agreed Mesnard needed treatment for his use of alcohol.  Eder disagreed, though, that probation was a sufficient punishment for the circumstances in Mesnard's case and would not prove a sufficient deterrent to others who might think alcohol use "is some type of excuse" for the offense committed.

While probation was an option, four years is the minimum prison term Mesnard could have received.

At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Eder urged Mesnard to get treatment for his abuse of alcohol.  The judge said, "This sentence does not include substance abuse treatment, but it doesn't prevent you seeking it once you're released.  It's up to you."