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Man sentenced to state prison following guilty plea

A city man pleaded guilty in Lycoming County Court this week to the November 2017 shooting death of another man in Loyalsock Township.

Zachary James Williams received 18 1/2 to 45 years in state prison after pleading guilty to third-degree murder, illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm without a license.

Williams had driven William Maurice Dowling, of Philadelphia, and Joshua A. Cooley, of Williamsport, to a location in the township to commit a burglary, Cooley testified at a 2018 preliminary hearing.

Williams reportedly shot Dowling with a .38 caliber pistol at close range following an argument between the two at Poco Farm Road Extension and Poco Farm Road.

Cooley testified that Dowling put his hands up in an apparent attempt to defend himself from the gun fire.

According to an autopsy, Dowling was shot several times, including in the chest with the bullet striking an artery.

Cooley testified that Williams said shortly after shooting Dowling that he “wasn’t going to let someone kill me.”

Paramedics arriving on the scene found Dowling still alive, but were unable to save him.

Cooley disposed of the pistol used in the shooting, which was recovered in the 500 block of Market Street in the city.

Williams was taken into custody in Bloomsburg a day after the shooting.