Scotty Gibson

Prestonsburg resident Scotty Gibson returns to a holding cell after being sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter on Thursday.

A Prestonsburg resident who admitted killing a Floyd County Detention Center inmate last year faces a decade behind bars.

Floyd County Circuit Judge Johnny Ray Harris sentenced Scotty Gibson, 25, of Prestonsburg, on Thursday to serve 10 years. Gibson was indicted last year for the June 5, 2018, murder of inmate Adam Potter, 29, of Prestonsburg. First responders were called to the jail that day, after reports of an inmate who was unresponsive.

Gibson was indicted in June 2018 on a charge of murder. After reaching a plea agreement with Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner’s office, he pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter.

Family members and offered a victim’s impact statement that was reviewed by Harris prior to the hearing. Turner reported that the family is in agreement with the sentence.

Officials report that it appears Gibson was not intentionally trying to murder Potter when he punched him.

Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley reported after Potter’s death last year that Gibson allegedly attempted to strike him twice, but he only hit him once on the side of the head, causing him to fall at the jail. He said it was a “nightmare punch” that caused Potter’s death. Turner previously reported the evidence shows that Gibson struck Potter in such a way that it injured his skull, causing a vein to bleed.

“It was an unusual situation,” he stated. “You would not expect that punching someone one time could result in their death but that’s exactly what happened. They defendant may not have intended that, but he caused it and he will have to live with that. A very young man lost his life and his family has been devastated by this. Ten years is a lengthy prison sentence, but we feel it’s fair in light of the damage he caused.”

Gibson’s sentence will run concurrently with another one imposed in Pike County, where he recently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor criminal mischief charge. Charges, including arson, contained in another indictment filed against Gibson in Pike County were still pending.

Pike Commonwealth’s Attorney Bill Slone told Appalachian Newspapers that all of those charges contained in the two separate indictments were dropped in order to aid in the plea agreement in Floyd County.

Potter had been in custody at the jail for 32 days at the time of his death.  

Gibson had served 527 days in jail as of Thursday.

Potter, 29, the son of Julia L. Shortridge and the late Tony R. Potter, is survived by his mother, siblings Katelyn Vanderpool and Carl Potter, grandparents and other family members. He was buried at the Campbell Cemetery.

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