(Anchorage, AK) – Wednesday morning in Anchorage Superior Court, Andrew Robertson-Goughnour, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated Manslaughter. His plea was accepted by the Honorable Peter Ramgren pursuant to a plea agreement.
Under that agreement, he was sentenced immediately following the acceptance of his guilty plea to serve 20 years in prison, with 11.5 of those years suspended. He will serve a five-year probation term after his prison sentence and has lost the right to possess a firearm for the remainder of his life.
This morning’s proceedings resolved a 2016 indictment stemming from a May 25, 2016, encounter at the Holiday gas station on Abbott Road. Robertson-Goughnour was at one of the gas pumps while his girlfriend was inside the store. The deceased, Brandon Merritt, then 19 years old, was in the front seat of a car with three of his friends, also parked at the Holiday. The two individuals were strangers to each other. Robertson-Goughnour was armed and openly carrying a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol in a hip holster. According to eyewitness accounts, a verbal dispute between the two men escalated when Merritt came out of his vehicle. Although Merritt was unarmed, Robertson-Goughnor drew his pistol. When Merrit continued to approach, Robertson-Goughnour racked the slide of his pistol, chambering a live round. Merritt’s friends, sensing the situation was escalating, got out of their car and yelled at Robertson-Goughnour to put the gun away, while Merritt and Robertson-Goughnour continued to yell back and forth. This culminated in Robertson-Goughnour firing a single hollow-point round into Merrit’s chest, fatally wounding him.
Forensic testing revealed Merrit was 18 inches to 30 inches from the muzzle of the gun when the fatal shot was fired.
Robertson-Goughnour, among a number of bystanders, called 911, which recorded him telling one of Merritt’s friends that he shot because the guys walked up on him and he thought they were saying disrespectful things toward his girlfriend—a claim that no other eyewitnesses, including his girlfriend, were able to verify at the time.