TIFTON -- A Tifton woman whose ex-boyfriend shot her in the stomach in 1997 said Thursday's sentencing was not as stiff as she had hoped, but she is ready to go on with her life.

"I feel better," said Mary Fowler. "Now at least I know he did get something and hopefully he will serve the time."

Fowler reported to Tifton police officers the afternoon of May 31, 1997, that she had been beaten and shot by a man she knew who attacked her when she returned to her North Central Avenue home.

Ronald Garmon, 49, was arrested shortly after the incident. He was charged with aggravated assault, burglary and aggravated stalking. According to an article in the June 2, 1997, edition of The Tifton Gazette, a gun was found in a room Garmon had rented at a local motel.

As recommended by the district attorney's office in a plea agreement , Tift Superior Court Judge J. Harvey Davis sentenced Garmon to serve 10 years of a 20-year sentence in prison and the remainder of the sentence on intensive probation.

Garmon was on probation for a cocaine charge at the time of the shooting. A local judge had also issued Temporary Protective Orders (TPO) requested by Fowler.

Garmon's probation was revoked and he served time in prison or at the Tift County Jail until his Thursday hearing. Garmon was given credit for the time served in prison against the sentence imposed Thursday.

According to assistant District Attorney Kevin Hutto, the assistant district attorney who handled Garmon's case is no longer employed at his office and the case "slipped through the cracks."

"We were notified by the Department of Corrections that his sentence was going to expire and we put a hold on him and brought him back here," said Hutto.

Hutto said he believed the aggravated assault charge was the best avenue since very few attempted murder cases are prosecuted successfully in Georgia.

"The aggravated assault sentence is one to 20 years and you don't have to prove intent," said Hutto.

The attempted murder charge carries a one to 10-year sentence upon conviction. Hutto predicts that Garmon will become eligible for parole in June 2006 and not any earlier because of the violent nature of the crimes against Fowler.

To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.

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