Man accused of firing gun sentenced to prison

LISBON – The Wellsville man accused of firing a gun from the back patio area of Tony’s Place two nights before New Year’s Eve was sentenced in Columbiana County Municipal Court Tuesday to 90 days in jail following a plea agreement, which included reducing the charges to misdemeanors.

Donald F. Edge Jr. 35, Sherwood Road, Wellsville, pleaded no contest to three misdemeanors – discharging a weapon over a prohibited area, which was reduced from a felony discharging a weapon over a public roadway; carrying a concealed weapon, reduced from a felony illegal possession of firearms in a liquor establishment; and using weapons while intoxicated. A third felony charge of tampering with evidence, which stemmed from Edge reportedly kicking the magazine away from police, was dismissed.

Besides a 180-day jail sentence with 90 days suspended and work release granted, Judge Mark Frost fined Edge $750, ordered him not to possess any firearms during his two-year probation and ordered both the handgun and ammunition destroyed.

Edge’s attorney Chris Amato called his client’s actions a “stupid” thing his client did as a pre-New Year’s Eve celebration, noting luckily there was no damage and no one was injured. A dent found in a nearby trailer on the other side of Erie Alley was checked by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, but it was determined not to have been caused by a bullet.

“It’s simple physics, what goes up does come down and with the same velocity as it went up,” Frost said, recalling a story of a tragic and random death of a person a mile from where a gun was fired into the air.

Both Frost and Assistant County Prosecutor Don Humphrey Jr. commented on changes to Ohio’s gun laws, which do allow in some special circumstances for people to carry a gun inside some liquor establishments. Humphrey said there are several contingencies, including having a valid concealed carry permit, the owner of the property permitting people to carry guns there and whether or not the person with the gun has consumed or even appeared to consume alcohol. In the case of Edge, he reportedly had been drinking.

Frost, who at an earlier hearing had commented about his concerns about a rash of gun-related crimes in and around liquor establishments which had come through the court in recent weeks, said while his statements were not misquoted, he felt they were misunderstood. He concurred there are times when people are allowed to carry into certain establishments where liquor is sold, although he said he has concerns about guns in places where people are drinking.

“It’s dumb stunts like this (one) … that jeopardize the constitutional rights of law abiding gun owners,” Frost said.