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Basham to plea for death of his roommate
Dakota Basham.jpg

A man who was indicted last year for second-degree murder for shooting his roommate in the head with a 357 Magnum has agreed to enter a plea to the reduced charge of felony reckless homicide.

Dakota Ryan Basham, 20, appeared in Circuit Court on Wednesday after being charged in 2018 with second-degree murder, aggravated assault, giving false reports to officers, and possession of more than a half ounce of marijuana with intent to deliver. 

According to his attorney, Brett Knight, Basham has made a plea deal with the District Attor-ney’s Office to lower the charge from a Class A felony to felony reckless homicide, a Class D felony. 

Basham voluntarily surrendered his bond and reported to jail on Thursday. According to the terms of the agreement, he will remain at Warren County Jail until Feb. 15 and then appear in court on Feb. 26 to formally enter his plea. 

After spending six months in jail, the rest of his eight-year sentence will be spent on probation. At that point, Basham would be granted a judicial diversion, meaning the charge will be removed from his record. 

“The key is that it will be a probate sentence where Mr. Basham will be allowed to have a diversion and have this removed from his record,” said Knight. “This was very important to him.”

District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis said she would comment after Basham formally pleas.

Basham was charged in the shooting death of his roommate Joshua Dell Smith, 18.

The shooting took place at Bybee Woods, a duplex off Bybee Branch Road, on March 16, 2018. Basham told police he was standing in a doorway cleaning a pistol when the 357 Magnum revolver discharged and struck Smith on the other side of the room. At first, the shooting was ruled to be accidental.

As the investigation unfolded, conflicting claims emerged with reports of a witness being at the scene during the shooting. The witness was instructed to leave before police arrived and not to discuss the incident, but the witness later came forward.

Due to the witness, Basham allegedly changed his story from what he had originally told police. 

Several guns were reportedly found at the duplex, along with marijuana and thousands of dollars, creating a suspicion of criminal activity at the residence. 

Basham was arrested but made his $50,000 bond shortly after. He has since been out of custody until surrendering his bond and turning himself over on Thursday to spend six months at Warren County Jail.