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Sentencing delayed for man shot by U.S. marshal

TAMPA -— A judge delayed sentencing this morning for a man shot last week by a U.S. marshal.

An attorney for David Christopher Sills, 26, told Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Robert Foster that Sills was under the influence of pain medication, which "affected his ability to be clear."

Sills was shot in the torso last week by a U.S. marshal serving a warrant on him for failure to appear at a sentencing hearing for a drug trafficking offense.

Tampa police say Sills sold cocaine to an undercover officer in November. Sills faces a three-year minimum mandatory prison sentence for three counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.

On Oct. 16, a Tampa police officer was with a U.S. deputy marshal serving a warrant for Sills' arrest at the Club at Hidden River Condominiums, at 13568 Cypress Glenn Lane, north of Fletcher Avenue and west of Interstate 75, when the marshal shot Sills.

The U.S. Marshals Service has released no details about the shooting. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which is investigating the matter, has confirmed some details of the incident. But neither agency has released the name of the involved law enforcement officer or any specifics about what led the officer to use deadly force.

Jim Madden, special agent in charge of the Tampa division of the FDLE, said he could not say whether Sills was armed since it is part of an ongoing investigation.

This morning, Sills' court-appointed attorney told Foster that Sills would like a new attorney and that he would like time for family in New York to come to Tampa in time for the court hearing.

Foster seemed doubtful that Sills was negatively affected by the pain medication he is on.

"What is your date of birth?" Foster asked. "What is my name? Where are you?"

To each question, Sills answered correctly.

"I don't want you to play games here," Foster said.

Then, attorneys for the state and for the defense approached the bench and spoke briefly in low voices, out of earshot of a television news camera and others in the courtroom.

After the meeting ended, Foster agreed to reschedule sentencing for Oct. 31 at 8 a.m. "unless there's further notice."

Sills, of 4807 Bristole Bay Way in Tampa, briefly played point guard for the University of South Florida basketball team. He studied communications at the school for two semesters in 2005, but left without graduating and was dismissed from the team. Then-coach Robert McCullum cited Sills' poor attitude and behavior.

Sentencing delayed for man shot by U.S. marshal 10/23/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 24, 2008 6:19pm]
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