Life Term in Motorcyclist's Murder; Bogart Man Shot First, Didn't Ask Questions, Prosecutor Says

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Byline: JOE JOHNSON

WATKINSVILLE, Ga. - An Oconee County Superior Court jury convicted a Bogart man Monday of murder and aggravated assault for shooting a motorcyclist in the back and killing him last winter.

Richard Harold "Ricky" Gear was sentenced to life plus five years in prison for malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime in the Feb. 25 death of Bryan Joseph "B.J." Mough of Winder.

Gear, 46, claimed he shot in self-defense after 21-year-old Mough followed his daughters home and tried to run him down as he stood in his own driveway.

But District Attorney Ken Mauldin argued Gear acted with premeditation when he shot Mough.

After listening to 46 witnesses and reviewing more than 500 pieces of evidence since the trial began Nov. 17, a jury of nine women and three men took just three and a half hours to return a guilty verdict.

The victim's father, Mike Mough, had mixed emotions at the end of the trial.

"We're ecstatic with the outcome of the trial, but it still doesn't bring Bryan back," Mike Mough said. "[Gear] took the law into his own hands, and he got the verdict that he deserves."

Jurors returned from a four-day Thanksgiving break to hear attorneys' closing arguments Monday morning.

Defense attorney Edward Tolley said he wasn't surprised by the verdict and that he will appeal.

"I knew [a conviction] was a possibility," Tolley said. "The facts were very difficult."

Jurors probably returned a quick verdict because they thought about the case over the holiday weekend, Tolley said.

"I think they came back pretty much knowing what they were going to do," he said. …

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