Man who shot Marine veteran sentenced to 19 years in jail

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A man who shot a Marine Corps veteran last year in Fresno was on Thursday sentenced to 19 years in prison.

RELATED: Man accused of shooting veteran pleads not guilty

Rylan Marki shot the veteran, Steven Austin, at O'Reilly's Auto Parts on Blackstone and Sierra in April 2018. Police say he was stealing from the store.

Austin was a store employee who tried to stop Marki in the parking lot. He survived the shooting.

On Thursday, Austin finally confronted the man who almost took his life.

He asked for the maximum punishment - even though he said he forgives Marki for shooting him during the scuffle.

Marki said he was defending a friend when a fight ended in a shooting. He claims he never intended to pull the trigger.

Marki had walked into the auto parts store with a female friend.

"I will be haunted by this act for the remainder of my life. My only reason for even entering the store was to buy a tire plug for a friend. There was no ill intent involved," he said.

Several members of the defendant's family and friends spoke at sentencing, each begging the judge to consider his youth and drug treatment instead of a nearly two-decade sentence. Marki's wife talked about the couple's two-year-old daughter and the heartbreaking reality he will miss out on her childhood.

"She tries to go to him when we go visit him in jail she tries to get him to pick her up and she cries because she doesn't understand why he can't," Michaela Marki said.

Austin had worked full time at the auto parts store for close to 13 years. But since the shooting, physical limitations and anxiety have prompted him to cut back on hours and change locations. Despite his serious injury- he offered forgiveness to the repeat offender.

"I sincerely hope you can devote your life to being a better person and you can change your life. Please take the right path. God is always waiting and listening you just need to knock on the door,' he said.

Before handing down the sentence the judge set the record straight on the details about the crime that were not mentioned by any of Marki's loved ones.

"It's clear that your family has a different idea of what occurred in this instance," she said.

She also reminded Marki he escalated what began as a theft.

The judge said on Thursday that Marki escalated the incident by 'lifting up his shirt and showing employees the butt of a gun.'

Marki said he hopes to get drug rehabilitation in prison. His plan is to enter society sometime in his 40s as a responsible and sober man.

Although just 28 year old, Marki has a long criminal past. It includes even shooting his female cousin in a fight over money.
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