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Louisa man sentenced to prison in paralysis case

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A love triangle in Louisa County resulted in one man spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair and another man spending 13 years in prison.

Darren Matthew Rowe, 28, of Louisa was sentenced to 43 years in prison with all but 30 years suspended in Louisa Circuit Court Wednesday.

Rowe pleaded guilty in February to aggravated malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony for shooting his former friend and roommate because they were both dating the same woman.

According to Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire, Rowe had been friends with O’Bryan Johnson since they were in middle school in the late 1990s.

Johnson began dating Amanda Fitzgerald in 2003 and he later moved in with her. Rowe moved in with them a few years later, McGuire said.

In 2010, both men moved out of the house after Johnson and Fitzgerald ended their relationship, he said. A short while later, Rowe began a romantic relationship with the woman.

For the next three years, McGuire said, Fitzgerald had an off-and-on romantic relationship with both men.

On Feb. 21, 2013, Fitzgerald decided to see only Rowe after unsuccessfully trying to patch things up with Johnson, McGuire said.

Fitzgerald and Rowe both testified in court that Johnson came to the woman’s apartment that night and damaged Rowe’s car.

McGuire said Rowe left the apartment around 11 p.m. to look for Johnson and spotted him at a convenience store.

He said Rowe confronted Johnson and the two former friends exchanged words before Rowe shot Johnson in the upper body with a .45-caliber handgun, instantly paralyzing him.

Johnson will have to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life, McGuire said.

Fitzgerald testified that she regrets what happened and wished that she and Rowe did not keep their relationship a secret.

Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419


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