A Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy avoided prison time after pleading guilty to attempted manslaughter last week.
Timothy G. Virden was sentenced to three years of probation last week after entering his guilty plea in connection with a shooting in a December 2015 traffic stop that resulted in his termination. According to the state, Virden was one of several deputies involved in a traffic stop near John’s Pass Village involving a woman suspected of drunk driving.
Per the record, the woman’s boyfriend, namely Dylan Tompkins-Holmes, was also present on the scene and advised her not to participate in the sobriety tests the deputies attempted to administer her. Deputies asked Tompkins-Holmes to cease, but he was undeterred, leading to his arrest.
While being escorted to a police cruiser, Tompkins-Holmes trousers fell, and he allegedly shouted abuse at the deputies as they placed him within. Alleging that Tompkins-Holmes tried to grab his firearm, Virden subsequently drew his weapon and shot him twice, critically injuring him. Tompkins-Holmes ultimately underwent surgery to remove a portion of intestine and to retrieve a round that was wedged into his spine.
Virden was terminated shortly thereafter for his conduct, and a settlement between Tompkins-Holmes and the sheriff’s office ended a civil case generated due to the shooting. Though the sheriff’s department maintains its opinion of Virden’s guilt in the matter, they agreed to a plea deal due to their belief that the evidence in the case may not be sufficient to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
Though his sentence is to run three years, Florida law allows him to apply for termination upon completing half of the sentence. Additionally, Virden is not considered a convicted felon, as adjudication of the case was withheld.