NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — The man who handed Bryan Kyle Bridgeman the gun that, according to the coroner’s ruling, Bridgeman used to commit suicide has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Paul Joseph Coon, Jr. (PJ) appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court on Thursday to enter a guilty plea to an indictment charging weapons under disability and illegal transactions of firearms, according to a release from Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.
Judge George McCarthy merged the two counts and sentenced Coon to the maximum of 36 months in prison, consecutive to a two-year prison sentence out of Vinton County, Ohio.
Linda Johnson, who did not give up searching for her grandson Bryan until his remains were found, read a four-page statement in court. She said afterwards in a private social media statement, which she allowed NBC4 to repost:
“The judge allowed me to give a statement. I started on what we went through, the agonizing months of not knowing,” Johnson said. “I told him about the last words Bryan said to me, hearing that gun shot later that evening. I told PJ he was a coward to run, leave ‘his friend’ there to be torn apart by scavengers.
“I told him he has the chance to better himself while in prison and would hope he would do so. Told him, he was accountable for bringing a gun there, accountable for not reporting a death, complicity assisting a suicide.
“I said to PJ your actions and behaviors have been bad ones all your life, your choices has come to this, destroying others lives in the process.
“I also forgave him, for myself, so hatred would not overtake the love and memories of Bryan, to have piece of mind, for Bryan and God.
“I hope you can understand where I am coming from,” Johnson told her supporters. “I appreciate everyone’s support during these difficult months. I love you all!”
Emotion in court
“PJ did give statements while incarcerated previously, as well as telling where Bryan was, to law enforcement as well as made a statement in court. As I was speaking, I saw PJ wipe away tears.
“What I said to him must have generated some emotion down deep. So maybe there is hope left.
“And as I told him, it’s on him now,” Johnson’s statement concluded.