Sunday, October 19, 2014

PA:Barbershop Shooter Acquitted, Case in Shirt Pocket

A jury recently found Albert Dudley not guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, and possessing an instrument of crime.

In 2012, Dudley become involved in an altercation with another barber at the shop where he worked.   Dudley had a concealed carry permit, and during the altercation, his firearm was fired, striking his opponent.  Versions of the event vary considerably.   From the article about the arrest:
Later, Dudley gave investigators a written statement saying he had been at work when the victim arrived, appearing intoxicated. He claimed the other man became physically aggressive during the argument.  
Originally, the suspect stated that during the tussle his gun fired accidentally while in the holster but changed his account several times, according to the criminal complaint. Dudley also said the victim took the gun from the holster and gained control of the weapon, but eventually the suspect regained control of the gun.

While gripping the firearm from the top, the gun fired as the victim backed Dudley into a wall, the gunman said.

At the trial,  Dudley took the stand and told this account:
On Thursday before closing arguments, Dudley took the stand and told the court the victim attacked him and he never meant for anyone to get shot on the day of the fight. He said the victim, whose name is being withheld by The Times Herald, was drunk started the fight. He further testified the man tried to grab his gun and in the struggle of getting his gun back, the gun went off. Dudley said once he realized the gun went off he offered to drive the victim to the hospital, but an ambulance and the police had already been called.
 Given the variation in accounts, and the potential attempt to alter a crime scene (Dudley was found with an empty case in his shirt pocket), I can see why the prosecutors decided to go forward to a jury trial.  Do not alter a crime scene.   It makes you appear guilty.

I have had shell caseings end up in my shirt pockets, so it can happen without evil intent.   Apparently the jury thought so as well.   The prosecutor was gracious at the end of the trial.    
Prosecuting attorney Rebecca Strubel said she respected the jury’s verdict, but did not comment any further.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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