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Man sentenced in shooting death of girlfriend

By Staff | Mar 6, 2012

A Cape Coral teen recently found guilty in the 2010 shooting death of his then girlfriend was sentenced to nearly 11 years in prison Monday.

Lee County Circuit Court Judge John Dommerich sentenced Dylan Stanley Wisniewski, 19, of 2125 S.E. Sixth Lane, to 10 1/2 years in prison at the hearing, followed by five years of probation with no early termination.

In January, a jury found Wisniewski guilty of manslaughter with a firearm in the death of Ashlee Swazey, 15. He faced a maximum sentence of 30 years.

The State Attorney’s Office recommended 15 years to Dommerich.

“Actually, we were very happy with it,” Assistant State Attorney Marie Doerr, who prosecuted the case, said Tuesday. “We were afraid he might get a youthful offender sentence, which is basically a slap on the wrist.”

According to Doerr, a youthful offender sentence consists of a maximum sentence of six years of probation or a combination of probation and prison time. A type of bootcamp was another option on the table for Wisniewski.

“If he qualified for that, he would be out within four months once he completed the bootcamp,” she said. “That was my big concern.”

Assistant State Attorney Andreas Gardiner served as co-counsel.

Assistant Public Defender Maria Pace represented Wisniew-ski.

Pace did not return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

As part of the sentencing, Wisniewski must visit middle and high schools – one per month – while on probation and talk to students about gun safety. He also must undergo a mental evaluation and obey any recommendations.

Other terms of his sentencing include providing a DNA sample, covering the court and prosecution costs and having no contact with the victim’s family.

“He was adjudicated guilty, so he will be a convicted felon,” Doerr said.

“And he has to forfeit the firearm that was used,” she added.

On Sept. 3, 2010, Cape officers responded to a shooting at Wisniewski’s home. He said he was “messing” with a gun and Ashlee, his girlfriend, had been hurt. She was found in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head.

During questioning, Wisniewski said he and Ashlee were in his bedroom. She was walking around the room when he removed a .22-caliber rifle from a gun rack above his closet. He pointed the gun in her direction, first at her feet.

As he raised the gun to Ashlee’s shoulder area, she allegedly walked up to the end of the firearm and put her mouth close to the barrel. He pulled the trigger, not realizing that the gun was loaded, and Ashlee fell to the floor.

She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to official records.

During the trial, Wisniewski testified that he guessed that his finger was on the trigger, and that he did not know if Ashlee touched or bumped the rifle.

He said he never thought to, nor meant to, intentionally engage the trigger.

At the sentencing, Ashlee’s family addressed the courtroom, as well as Wisniewski and his family. According to Doerr, Wisniewski said he missed Ashlee and he was ready to accept whatever punishment the judge gave.

“It’s such a sad case. Everybody loses in a case like this,” she said.

“You have two families that are basically destroyed,” Doerr added. “But maybe now the Swayze family can put this behind them and heal a little bit. The Wisniewski family – Dylan will start to pay for what he did to her.”

Neither family could be reached for comment Tuesday.