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Man who was shot in struggle pleads not guilty to gun charges

| Aug 22, 2012 | Weapons Crimes |

A 52-year-old man who was shot on Sep. 25 during a fight with a friend of his has been hit with gun charges due to his prior record of robbery convictions, which could put him in prison for the rest of his life. The man pleaded not guilty to gun possession at a federal court hearing on Aug. 21, and denied the government’s version of events. Meanwhile, prosecutors dropped charges against the friend due to lack of evidence.

According to federal prosecutors, the 52-year-old, a resident of Fawn Township, and his friend, a 51-year-old man, got into a struggle last September. Few details about the fight were available in a news article about the criminal charges, but at some point a handgun went off and hit the defendant in the forehead. He spent several days in the hospital but survived.

Now authorities want to send the wounded man to prison because, they say, the gun belonged to him. The man has three federal convictions for burglary on his record, which means he is legally prohibited from owning a firearm. However, the question of who owned the gun may not be as cut-and-dried as federal prosecutors claim. When his attorney was asked about his client possibly being shot with his own gun, the defendant said “No, that’s not what happened.”

All of the man’s federal convictions included prison terms, though none were for longer than 27 months. He also has a number of convictions in Pittsburgh-area counties.

The defendant’s friend also was charged in connection with the shooting, but prosecutors dropped the charges after the defendant declined to testify against him.

Source: York Daily Record, “Prolific Pa. theft now faces federal gun charge,” Joe Mandak, Aug. 21, 2012

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