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Putnam Murder Trial: Jury Finds Osman Guilty
Athens, August 22, 2009 – A 17-year-old Columbus man will spend 28 years to life in prison for killing a Meigs County man in February.
An Athens County jury found Mohat Osman Guilty of aggravated robbery and murder on August 13, 2009 after about nine hours of deliberation spread over two days.
Prosecutors say Osman went with Phillip Boler, 27, Abdifatah Abdi, 17, and Hamda Jama, 21, to raid Billy Osborne's New Marshfield trailer in the early hours of Feb. 15. The assault turned violent and resulted in someone shooting Donnie Putnam, formerly of Meigs County, in the chest.
The court moved into sentencing after hearing the verdict.
Prosecutors asked for 28 years to life, saying it was obvious Osman has no remorse, "doesn't care about life" and cannot be rehabilitated.
Ward said he considered the case, but followed the prosecutors' request because of Osman's violent criminal history, which includes assaulting a teacher when he was 12, and the nature of the crime.
Ward also ordered Osman to pay court costs and more than $6,500 in restitution to Putnam's family.
Though Ward technically could have sentenced Osman to as much as 38 years to life in prison, prosecutors say it is customary for judges to merge the sentences for two similar offenses that stem from the same event - in this case, combining the two counts of aggravated robbery into one concurrent sentence.
In an impact statement read to the court during sentencing, Putnam's mother, Sharon Tucker said she could not forgive or forget what Osman had taken from her family.
"I know our lives will never be the same again," she wrote in the statement.
Osman tearfully apologized for the trouble he caused his and Putnam's family, saying however, that he did not kill Putnam.
"I don't believe this is justice, because I didn't kill your son," he said to Putnam's mother.
Osman's attorney, Larry Thomas, asked Ward not to impose the maximum sentence, because his client had never before been to jail and could be rehabilitated.
He said the court should give Osman some hope for redemption, adding that Ward should "leave a guy in a situation where he knows there's a future."
He also asked Ward to dismiss the case, but was unsuccessful and notified the court that Osman would appeal the verdict.
This is the second of four murder cases related to Putnam's death. A jury found Boler guilty of aggravated robbery and felony murder in June, and Judge Michael Ward, who also presided over Osman's case, sentenced him to 28 years to life in prison.
The judge sent the case to the jury at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday after the attorneys gave their summations of the case. The jury deliberated for more than two hours before requesting to go home for the night. They reconvened at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning (August 13).
Prosecutors acknowledged during their closing statement that they do not know for sure if Osman was the one to shoot Putnam, but that it does not matter, because Osman's robbery caused Putnam's death.
"(Osman) made the decision that set all the other dominoes tumbling down," Assistant County Prosecutor Robert Driscoll said.
Thomas said the state had no physical evidence proving that whoever shot Putnam did so because of the robbery. He also told the jury the confession his client made to police during interviews shortly after the shooting could not be trusted, citing Osman's other lies to police about his name and age.
In response, prosecutors listed the true statements Osman made in his interview with police, saying that Osman told the truth about the robbery, because he knew killing Putnam was a more severe crime that what he confessed.
Thomas also said Osman could not have known that Putnam would arrive during the shootout and be caught in the crossfire and could not have been responsible for his death. He cited longstanding speculation that John Perry II, who was in the trailer during the shootout, shot Putnam through the trailer wall.
Prosecutors responded that Putnam's arrival does not qualify as unexpected and surprising, saying that a meteor striking Putnam during the shootout would qualify as surprising, but nothing else.
Abdi's trial will begin later this month, and Jama's will begin in late September. Prosecutors have also charged them with aggravated robbery and felony murder.
Source: The Post, August 14, 2009