A Notasulga man was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday.
Jody Gann was charged with four counts of attempted murder and firing a gun into an occupied vehicle. In June, a Tallapoosa County jury only returned guilty verdicts on one count of attempted murder and the shooting into an occupied vehicle.
Gann tried to say he suffered from PTSD caused by combat military service while military records said otherwise. At trial Gann said he went to Afghanistan and it was a story he held onto Friday as he spoke to Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Issac Wharton during sentencing.
“I wasn’t able to turn my orders in when I got back,” Gann said. “I didn’t turn in my records for awards either.”
Tom Stanton, a civilian at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina is chief of data correctness, testified he searched through two military databases that cover military service and could find no records supporting Gann served in the Middle East. Stanton said he saw where Gann was deployed to Haiti for two months in 2010.
“There were no combat citations, no combat action badge,” Stanton said by video conference in the sentencing hearing.
Gann said when he returned from Haiti he attached to another unit to go to Afghanistan. Gann’s attorney Mark Allen Treadwell asked if it were possible for his records to be classified. Stanton said he could see if Gann was part of a special forces or classified unit but Gann was not.
Stanton testified Gann never saw combat.
“I got sent to the 119th when I got back from Haiti,” Gann said. “My squad leader told me (not turning in orders) would come back to bite me.”
Gann’s claim of serving in Afghanistan could see more charges brought against him according to Fifth Judicial Circuit district attorney Jeremy Duerr.
“We are incredulous that in 2021 and in light of recent events that Gann persists in claiming a combat deployment and seeing active combat when the Department of the Army denies any record of him being deployed to a combat zone, being under fire, or receiving any type of combat award,” Duerr said. “Such a false claim is despicable and we will cooperate fully with any investigation or further prosecution.”
In March 2016 Gann was on a south Tallapoosa County road. Wharton said he recalled testimony and evidence of three people in a car being shot but the jury only found Gann guilty of one count of attempted murder. Gann did apologize for his role in the incident.
“I wish things would have went different,” Gann said. “I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. I was just trying to protect myself and my passenger.”
Gann said just a few months prior to the shooting he was talking weekly with a psychiatrist about his PTSD when he revealed at one point after his military service he had sat a table contemplating suicide.
“My wife left me, I was drinking and had a loaded 357,” Gann said. “I didn’t have the guts to pull the trigger. I went to the bedroom and took a whole bottle of trazodone.”
Gann said he wrote a two-and-a-half page letter explaining why he was committing suicide. Gann said the psychiatrist sent him to the mental health unit of the Tuscaloosa VA hospital.