Bradenton man gets 20 years in prison for manslaughter. We may never know why he killed

Tarance “Dread” Gordon
Tarance “Dread” Gordon

If someone knows why Tarance “Dread” Gordon and Roger Clinton began arguing at a social gathering on Dec. 17 2016, they aren’t telling. But what is clear about that Saturday night is that it ended with Gordon shooting 40-year-old Clinton dead.

Gordon had been letting Clinton live in his home at the time but claims that after they both left the gathering, Clinton threatened his family and so he shot him in self-defense. But Clinton was shot in the back — ultimately a fatal flaw in his self-defense claim.

A judge struck down Gordon’s immunity claim under Florida’s “Stand your ground” law last year, ruling that he had recklessly shot Clinton in the back and that he did not prove that Clinton had posed an imminent threat to him or his family.

But despite the ruling, Gordon, 38, refused repeated offers by the state attorney’s office to take accept a agreement that would included a 20-year prison sentence.

On Monday, Gordon was set to stand trial, facing a life sentence if convicted, Instead, Gordon took the deal and pleaded no contest to manslaughter with a weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was sentenced to 20- years in prison.

Gordon has been in custody at the Manatee County jail since his arrest just hours after the shooting.

A condition included in his sentence is that Gordon have no contact with Clinton’s family.

On the night of his death, Clinton left the gathering that both men had attended in his car, while Gordon decided to walk home. But Clinton stopped at a friend’s house who lived across the street from Gordon home in the 600 block of 33rd Avenue Drive East.

Both men had been drinking at the gathering.

While walking home, Gordon received threatening text messages from Clinton. During the stand your ground hearing last year, however, Gordon’s defense did not provide evidence that he had actually read them prior to the shooting. The text messages never offered investigators any insight about what started the argument between the two men and Gordon claimed not to remember.

But the threats went beyond text messages, according to Gordon, when Clinton went to pick up his daughter at Gordon’s house and began to wave a gun in front of Gordon’s girlfriend and children. When his girlfriend called to tell him, Gordon went home and armed himself with a shotgun.

A confrontation outside in front of Gordon’s home followed, and Gordon shot Clinton and took off running.

When deputies arrived moments later, they found Clinton laying face down with shotgun wounds to his back.