After more than 2-½ years, an Athens man pleaded guilty in the shooting death of a Madisonville man in 2018 and will now face two decades in prison.

Paul Shane Strickland, 49, County Road 607, Athens, pleaded in connection with the shooting death of Christopher Garrett, 26, Madisonville on Oct. 21, 2018.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) said Strickland shot Garrett in the back of the head as they traveled down Highway 411 on the north end of Madisonville.

TBI investigator Colton Brown said Strickland was in the backseat and Garrett in the front passenger seat and the two began to argue. Brown said he interviewed the woman who was driving the car and she said as they entered Madisonville, she heard a popping sound and Garrett slumped forward in his seat.

The news release said the woman attempted to get Garrett to a hospital but she ended up colliding with another vehicle on the highway. Strickland then jumped out of the car and ran into a wooded area where he was eventually found and taken into custody.

Tenth District Attorney General Steve Crump requested the TBI handle the investigation, but noted Madisonville and Vonore police departments assisted along with Monroe, Blount and Loudon county sheriff’s offices at the scene.

No one was reported injured in the wreck that resulted from the alleged shooting.

Strickland pleaded to second degree murder, giving him 20 years at 100%. Strickland also pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault for pulling a gun while someone was driving a car, putting them in fear for their life.

He received three years on that plea, but will receive credit for the two years and eight months he has already been in jail.

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