Final guilty pleas entered in 2016 shootout

Dante J. Givens pleaded guilty in Fluvanna County Circuit Court on Thursday (Feb. 1) to one count each of attempted malicious wounding, conspiracy to commit larceny of a firearm, and attempted larceny of a firearm. 

He is the last of four men accused in the November 2016 attempted robbery on Lake Monticello Road that left one man badly injured.

Givens, 36, initially answered “not guilty” to attempted malicious wounding but quickly corrected the plea to “guilty.” 

Givens was not at the scene when homeowner Garnette Bourne was shot in the leg by Gary Blowe. Commonwealth’s Attorney Jeff Haislip told the court that Givens had decided at the last minute not to accompany Blowe and fellow co-conspirators John Morton Abbitt and Thomas A. Jackson to the residence and had not even had a gun in his possession that day.

“I understand your reluctance to plead guilty,” Judge Richard Moore told Givens, “[but] when you agree with others to do things that are illegal, you are responsible for other crimes resulting from the events.”

Under the terms of the plea agreement, two counts originally handed down by the grand jury were dismissed. 

Givens now faces a maximum potential sentence of 30 years when he returns to court May 25.

“We think he was reluctant all the way through,” said Haislip, but added that Givens also hadn’t backed out and was apprehended while helping Jackson flee the area.  

Blowe was found guilty by a jury in early January and Abbitt and Jackson pleaded guilty to multiple counts later in the month.