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Johnny Paycheck Found Guilty in Barroom Shooting

May 16, 1986

HILLSBORO, Ohio (AP) _ Country singer Johnny Paycheck was found guilty Friday of shooting a man in a bar after an argument, and he was sentenced to up to 9 1/2 years in prison.

Paycheck, who showed no emotion when the verdict was read in Higland County Common Pleas Court, was convicted of a reduced charge of aggravated assault and tampering with evidence for disposing of the gun in the shooting of Larry Wise of Greenfield.

Paycheck was acquitted of carrying a concealed weapon.

The assault conviction includes a specification that Paycheck was possessing a weapon during the crime, a finding that carries a mandatory three-year sentence.

In addition, Judge Darrell R. Hottle sentenced Paycheck to 2 1/2 to 5 years in prison for aggravated assault and 1 1/2 years for tampering with evidence. The sentences are to be served consecutively.

The judge also increased Paycheck’s bond from $25,000 to $50,000, and deputies slapped handcuffs on the singer and led him away.

Paycheck declined an opportunity to speak shortly before the verdicts were read. The jury deliberated about 2 1/2 hours.

Paycheck, 47, also of Greenfield, was charged with felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon and tampering with evidence for allegedly discarding the .22-caliber handgun used in the Dec. 19 shooting in Hillsboro’s North High Lounge.

He could have been sentenced to up to 22 years in prison and fined $17,500.

Paycheck’s lawyer, Ralph Buss, said he would appeal the verdicts and called the sentence ″unduly harsh.″ Buss said he expected that the additional $25,000 cash bond would be posted to gain Paycheck’s release.

County Prosecutor Rocky Coss welcomed the conviction and sentencing.

″The defendant ... has had a very checkered career with the law,″ Coss said. ″We feel he should pay the price for his conduct.″

Since 1961, Coss said, Paycheck has been convicted of grand auto theft, passing a bad check, malicious mischief and fourth-degree sexual assault in various courtrooms around the United States. He served a prison term only for the bad check conviction in Nashville in 1968, Coss said..

Buss had told jurors that Paycheck shot Wise in self-defense. But Coss said Wise and his friend, Lloyd Bowers, did nothing to provoke the shooting.

The singer is best known for his 1978 country hit ″Take This Job and Shove It.″

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