TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Terre Haute man was sentenced Monday to 55 years in prison for killing a teenager during a house party.
Dylan Morgan was previously found guilty in the 2018 shooting death of 18-year-old Gage Eup.
The night of the shooting Eup, who had recently graduated high school, was attending a party before other friends returned to school. While at the residence on Cleveland Avenue, Morgan, who had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana, brought out a semi-automatic handgun.
Minutes later, Morgan pointed the gun at Eup, fired one shot, killing the teen.
“It is always tragic when someone is murdered,” Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modessit said. “But when it happens to someone that just graduated high school with their entire future ahead of them, that hurts even more.”
Vigo Co. Judge John Roach listened to the final testimonies from family and friends of both Dylan Morgan and Gage Eup.
Eup’s family members said they’ve experienced grief and anxiety on a daily basis since his death. His mother stated, “Gage trusted that he was safe in Morgan’s home and lost his life.”
Friends and family members of Morgan also spoke at the sentencing hearing, where his older sister said, “He’s not murderer,” and called what happened on August 5, 2018, “a tragic accident”.
During the hearing Morgan also apologized to the family. He called his actions during the incident, “reckless and childish”.
At trial, witnesses described Morgan as removing the magazine and then expelling the chambered bullet prior to pointing the gun at Gage Eup. Further evidence demonstrated that the gun had a functioning safety mechanism that would have prevented it from firing had the magazine been removed.
“The evidence showed the defendant got his gun, loaded it, pointed it at Gage Eup and shot him. Intoxication is not a defense to the commission of a crime in Indiana.” Modesitt said. “The jury agreed that Morgan’s conduct was murder.”
During sentencing, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rob Roberts argued that to give less than the 55-year advisory sentence would depreciate the seriousness of this murder. He said that Morgan’s lack of remorse and his recent conviction and violation of pretrial release balanced out any mitigating circumstances.
In announcing Morgan’s sentence Monday, Vigo County Superior Court Judge John Roach sided with the state.