Ash Flat woman survives gunshots to head
Just more than a year after she was shot in the head at point blank range, justice has finally come for Priscilla Partridge.
Circuit Judge Harold Erwin sentenced her shooter, Brendon Labor, to 35 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction for attempted capital murder and residential burglary in a negotiated plea met Jan. 3.
Labor received 30 years in prison for attempted capital murder and five years for residential burglary. He received credit for the 420 days he had spent in the county jail at the time of his appearance.
Labor is also ordered to pay $150 in court costs, $250 for the DNA fund and all medical expenses incurred by Partridge as a result of the shooting.
Labor, 35, and his friend, Nicholas Gilbert, 22, were arrested Dec. 16, 2004, five days after Partridge was shot in the head inside her home at Foxfire Apartments in Ash Flat.
Labor entered Partridge's home and waited inside with a .22-caliber revolver until she arrived home. Gilbert allegedly served as a lookout at the back door.
Partridge had stayed the weekend with a friend. Around 9 p.m. she entered her home, apartment 2, to retrieve her purse so the two could go Christmas shopping at a nearby store. Her friend, a paraplegic, waited in his van outside.
When Partridge closed her door she was met by Labor and his handgun. He shot at her twice, said Sharp County Detective Sgt. David Huffmaster, once from point blank range.
The bullet entered her chin, ripped through her teeth and jaw and exited her forehead. The other bullet grazed her head.
She lay in the floor of her apartment until her shooter and his alleged lookout fled.
Covered in blood, Partridge crawled toward her door and turned her porch light off and on to signal for help. Then she crawled to a neighbor's home and sought help.
She was airlifted to St. John's Regional Medical Center in Springfield, Mo., where she was placed in a lock-down wing of the intensive care unit while local law enforcement scoured the Ash Flat area in search of her shooter.
A few days later Partridge, unable to speak, wrote Labor's name on a small piece of paper for police.
Police immediately arrested Labor, a Foxfire neighbor, who confessed to the crime and implicated Gilbert.
Labor told investigators he and Partridge were former lovers. He said he planned the shooting after Partridge began seeing other men and even became engaged, Huffmaster said.
He told police he shot her out of "jealousy" and "love."
Labor said he purchased the gun and cartridges with Gilbert in tow, Huffmaster said. He also said Gilbert was in on the planning and acted as the lookout while the two remained hidden in the apartment waiting for Partridge to arrive home, Huffmaster said. Labor also told police Gilbert was with him when he threw the revolver away, authorities said.
The two were both originally charged with conspiracy to commit capital murder, attempted capital murder and burglary.
Erwin ordered that both Labor and Gilbert undergo mental health evaluations in January 2005. The were deemed fit to stand trial.
In addition, no contact orders were issued against the men Jan. 3, 2005, to prevent Labor and Gilbert from contacting Partridge, Huffmaster said.
Gilbert has not confessed and has hired an attorney. His case is continued until April.
The weapon has not been recovered, Huffmaster said. Had Labor not disposed of the revolver, he might have used it again.
On the day of his arrest, Labor told Gilbert he would shoot another woman in Ash Flat if he had a gun, Sharp County Sheriff Dale Weaver said. Gilbert said the woman, whose name has not been released, had angered Labor a few days earlier by threatening to call the police to have him arrested.
Partridge was released from the hospital Feb. 11, exactly two months after she was shot. She has moved into a new home and her condition is improving every day, Huffmaster said.