A Mercer man has pleaded guilty to a 2020 drive-by shooting that injured a 7-year-old girl in Waterville. Credit: CBS 13

The Mercer man who left a 7-year-old Wateville girl injured in a February 2020 drive-by shooting has plead guilty.

Gavin Loabe, 19, was charged with felony aggravated assault charge in the shooting that mistakenly injured Emahleeah Frost. Loabe has not been sentenced, according to the Kennebec Journal.

Loabe’s defense attorney, Lisa Whittier, and prosecutors agreed that his sentence will be capped at a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Because of coronavirus safety protocols, Loabe attended via a video stream while prosecutors were in the courtroom. Whittier said that she felt as though the sentencing should be delivered when Loabe could attend in person, the newspaper reported.

Justice William Stokes, who presided over the hearing, agreed.

The terms of sentencing will be determined when the court meets on May 26. The prosecution agreed to suspend five years of Loabe’s sentence, with a mandatory minimum sentence of four years. However, if Loabe violates terms of probation, he could be subject to the full 15-year sentence.

Prosecutor Christopher Coleman said five bullets hit the Summer Street apartment building where Frost lives, injuring the young girl. A bullet fired by Loabe is still lodged between two of Frost’s vertebrae, according to the newspaper.

Loabe mistakenly believed a man who had allegedly flirted with Loabe’s girlfriend lived at the Summer Street address.

Loabe was accompanied by Jeremiah Gamblin, 21, of China. Gamblin was charged as an accomplice, and under Maine’s accomplice liability law, any accomplice could be charged with the same crime as the main perpetrator.

Gamblin told police he had “begged Loabe not to go through with the shooting,” the Kennebec Journal reported.

Gamblin originally plead guilty to an assault charge in September, but recanted the plea because he said the video feed made it hard to hear and he felt pressured into the decision, according to the Kennebec Journal.

Gamblin was scheduled to appear in court in May to face charges of elevated aggravated assault.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.