Justin Lee Cavanaugh

Justin Lee Cavanaugh confers with his public defender during his sentencing hearing Tuesday. Dorothy Chomicz/News-Miner

A Fairbanks man has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for shooting a man in the chest during a 2015 attempted robbery.

Justin Lee Cavanaugh, 27, pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder March 20 after accepting a plea agreement with the state. At his formal sentencing Tuesday, Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Jane Kauvar sentenced Cavanaugh to 22 years with 10 suspended, with 10 years of probation to serve after his release. In addition, Cavanaugh must also serve 3 years of previously suspended time for two 2012 cases, leaving him a composite sentence of 15 years to serve.

Cavanaugh’s co-conspirator, Deborah Annick Carroll, 46, of Fairbanks, was charged with one count of first-degree robbery and one count of conspiracy to commit robbery. Carroll pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge April 16. She was formally sentenced last June to 10 years with six suspended, leaving a total of four years to serve. Carroll must serve 10 years of probation upon release.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Carroll contacted the victim, who was a friend of hers, on Oct. 25, 2015. Carroll asked if she could borrow $20 and had the man pick her up and drive her to Santa’s Fireworks.

Carroll told the man to park near a shipping container. Cavanaugh was hiding in the woods nearby. Cavanaugh approached the vehicle and banged on the man’s window. The man opened the door and Cavanaugh shot him once, according to the complaint.

The man ran away, and Cavanaugh fired another shot at him while yelling at him to give him the keys to the vehicle. The man survived his injuries. 

After reading his sentence, Kauvar reminded Cavanaugh of his lengthy criminal record and suggested he make some changes in his life.

“At this point, enough time has gone by that if you don’t get things together, the reality is more likely than not that the next time you shoot somebody, the person might just die. I mean It does happen, right?” Kauvar said. 

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.

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