Rock Hill man didn’t admit guilt in shooting over a woman. He still went to prison

A Rock Hill man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for a 2017 shooting over a woman, even though he did not have to admit guilt in court, lawyers said.

Ricky Tyrone Dockery, 27, pleaded guilty in York County court to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature under what is called an Alford plea. In an Alford plea in South Carolina, a defendant accepts the punishment of a guilty plea without admitting guilt by accepting that if the case went to trial, he would likely be found guilty, prosecutors said.

In October 2017, the victim was shot in the neck after an altercation at a traffic light in Rock Hill, according to court testimony. Dockery had followed the victim as the two cars were driving through the city, prosecutors said.

“The argument ended when Ricky Dockery pulled out a pistol and shot (the victim) in the neck,” said Misti Shelton, 16th Circuit senior assistant solicitor.

The victim was able to walk to a nearby gas station and call for help, Shelton said.

The victim identified Dockery as the shooter, Shelton said. The victim told police he believed Dockery was in a relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Shelton said.

Two days later, Dockery was arrested on a charge of attempted murder while in York, Shelton said. Police recovered the pistol used in the shooting, she said.

In an interview with detectives, Dockery admitted to shooting the victim, Shelton said.

Attempted murder carries up to 30 years in prison. The case was set for trial this week in criminal court. However, an agreement on a plea to a lesser charge was reached before trial, said Shelton and Geoff Dunn, Dockery’s lawyer.

Dockery will not be eligible for parole, Shelton said.

Dockery has previous convictions for felony resisting arrest and threatening the life of a public official, court records show.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.