The Woodford County man found guilty of shooting his brother, tying the body to a pickup truck and then dragging the body was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison.
Vernon Saunders, 59, has been in jail for more than two years and will be eligible for a parole hearing about seven months after entering prison.
A jury convicted Saunders in the May 2014 death of his younger brother, Tim Saunders, 51, of Florida. Police said Vernon Saunders shot his brother in the chest, tied the body to a truck and dragged the body behind the truck about 1 1/2 miles on Ky. 33 south of Versailles. The body was found lying near a plank fence by the side of the road.
The brothers had been drinking on the night of the shooting, and the defense argued that the shooting was accidental.
A jury recommended that Vernon Saunders serve 10 years on the manslaughter charge and five years on the tampering charge.
Defense attorneys asked Woodford Circuit Judge Paul Isaacs to have the sentences run concurrently so Vernon Saunders would serve 10 years, rather than 15 if he served the sentences consecutively.
But Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Pat Molloy objected to that. He cited testimony that Saunders fired six shots and tried to clean up the shooting scene.
Molloy also said he saw surprise on the jurors’ faces when they learned that Vernon Saunders would be eligible for parole so quickly.
In the end, Isaacs sentenced Saunders to the full 15 years. Saunders has the right to appeal the sentence.