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Clarke Morrison, Asheville Citizen-Times

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- A man who shot his longtime girlfriend in the head at point-blank range and fired at a cab driver who followed him will spend at least 27 years in prison.

Patrick Earl Holliday pleaded guilty in Buncombe County Superior Court to two counts of attempted first-degree murder and other charges.

The shooting at the Greyhound bus station on Tunnel Road the night of Nov. 7, 2012, left Regina Michelle Robinson blind in her left eye, but Assistant District Attorney Chris Hess said it could have been worse.

"We easily could have had two murders in this case," he said. "We're happy that instead of a murder case, we have an attempted murder case. Ms. Robinson survived her wounds."

Holliday, 33, also pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, discharging a weapon into occupied property and assault on a law enforcement officer.

Judge Gary Gavenus sentenced him to 329-419 months in state prison.

Before the shooting, Holliday was charged with assaulting Robinson and was sentenced to probation. Terms of the probation required no contact with the victim, but on Oct. 31, 2012, he hit her with his car in a Bank of America parking lot on Smoky Park Highway. Hess said the impact knocked Robinson to the ground.

A warrant charging him with assault was issued, but Holliday fled to South Carolina to avoid arrest. He returned in a bus the night of the shooting. Also at the station was Robinson accompanied by three men and a woman.

"He pulled a gun from a backpack," Hess said. "She runs onto the bus. He follows her to the 11th row and shoots her point-blank in the head."

Holliday fled across Tunnel Road. He was followed by cab driver Edgar "Junior" Gillespie Jr., 51, who witnessed the shooting and called police.

Authorities said Gillespie's cab was about 10 feet away from Holliday when he turned and fired. The bullet passed through the open driver's side window and shattered the passenger window, narrowly missing Gillespie.

When officers found Holliday behind Innsbruck Mall, he put the .22-caliber revolver to his head and pulled the trigger several times, but the weapon had jammed, according to police. He then pointed the gun at two officers, but was taken into custody.

Holliday and Robinson, 32, had been involved in a long-term relationship and have four children together.

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