ELIZABETHTOWN, NC (WWAY) — An emotional day at the Bladen County Courthouse as a Wilmington business owner found guilty of involuntary manslaughter yesterday learned how much time he will spend behind bars.
Today the court heard victim impact statements from the family of the man Gore shot and killed two years ago and even a statement from Gore to the victim’s family.
After a very emotional sentencing hearing this morning the long-time girlfriend of victim Allen Blanchard said she wanted to be angry. But now she says she hopes they can all be at peace.
“I didn’t want to see it any other way but intentional,” Tara Thau said.
Thau said she wanted Gore to know how much she hurt.
On December 23, 2017, Gore was searching for a boat that was stolen from his Wilmington business, when he came upon Allen Blanchard and David Thau loading scrap metal at an abandoned factory. During the confrontation, Gore shot Blanchard in the head. It happened at Squires Timber Mill off NC 210 in the Kelly community on Dec. 23, 2017.
Gore called 911 and admitted his gun went off, shooting Blanchard.
“It made me feel and know that maybe he didn’t mean to pull that trigger,” she said. “Maybe things could have played out differently if he didn’t show up there with the gun.”
The prosecution said Gore had been a law abiding citizen up until this time but he took the law into his own hands.
The defense attorney said Gore and his family’s life has changed forever and that Gore suffers from nightmares.
Gore also faced Blanchard’s family and made a statement.
“I can’t bring Allen back, but I want you to know this: what you read up there and what you said is what I feel,” Gore said. “I’m sorry for all of this. I’m sorry I had to put you through this…I’m sitting here thinking that I’m a father. I have children.”
After listening to both the prosecution and defense, the judge sentence Gore to a suspended sentence of 16-29 months in prison. He will be on supervised probation for 30 months, pay court costs and restitution and a $75,000 fine. The $75,000 fine will go to Bladen County Schools.
Gore was also sentenced to two 30-day split sentences. Gore’s first 30-day sentence starts at 6 p.m. on December 1. His next 30-day sentence will begin on December 1, 2020.
Gore is also forbidden from owning a firearm in North Carolina.
In the end, there was an unexpected sight on the courthouse lawn: Thau and Gore welcome each other with open arms.
“Nobody won here,” Thau said. “Both families were hurt, you know. I forgive them.”
After her emotional embrace with Gore, Thau said nothing will bring Blanchard back, but she is one step closer to finding closure.