Northwest Florida Daily News
By Kelly Humphrey
January 25, 2017
Wanless was under treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses at the local Department of Veterans Affairs clinic when he fired a gun in the direction of Okaloosa County deputies during a 2015 altercation. In December, he was found guilty of five felonies in connection with the incident.Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Schlechter and Public Defender Ricky Dayaram walked into Circuit Court Judge William Stone's courtroom on Wednesday with two very different goals.
Dayaram attempted to convince the judge to depart from mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines that could send his client, 35-year-old Aaron Wanless, to prison for nearly 50 years. He asked the judge to consider sentencing Wanless to 48 months in prison, followed by probation and in-patient treatment for mental illness.
Schlechter, on the other hand, argued that Wanless should be punished to the full extent of the law as prescribed by Florida's 10-20-Life statute, which at the time Wanless was arrested applied to felonies that involve the use of a firearm. The law was repealed last year and replaced with a statute that gives judges more flexibility in sentencing.
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