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City man found guilty of assault, carrying gun

October 19, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A Washington County Circuit Court jury found a Hagerstown man guilty Thursday of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and carrying a handgun in connection with a February shooting.

Paul Edward Thomas, 27, of Hagerstown, will be held without bond pending a criminal record background check ordered by Judge John H. McDowell.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said Thomas didn't testify in the trial, which lasted most of the day Thursday.

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She said the only defense testimony centered around Thomas' contention that he didn't intend to hit anyone during the shooting.

Attempts to reach defense attorney Stephen Meyers Friday morning were unsuccessful.

Cirincion said the jury was out about 90 minutes before returning with its verdicts.

The charges stemmed from a Feb. 25 incident in which shots were fired at Antonio Leon Mooney shortly before noon in the 400 block of Park Place.

Thomas was later apprehended on Charles Street in Martinsburg, W.Va., on Hagerstown City Police warrants.

Jailed briefly in the Eastern Regional Jail, Thomas was returned to Washington County to await trial on these charges a short time later.

According to Washington County court documents, Mooney was chased by a group of men that day. As he fled between two houses, he was followed by a man who fired several shots, court records said.

Police later found three spent shell casings from a 9mm handgun in the rear yard of a home in the 400 block of Park Place, according to court records. Police also found a building in the 440 block of North Jonathan Street that had been struck by a stray bullet.

Mooney later picked Thomas from an array of six photographs as the man he alleged was his assailant, court documents said.

Mooney was the target of bullets at least once before, according to court records.

Last Dec. 19, he was hit twice by shots fired from a small-caliber weapon as he stood in the rear parking lot at 920 W. Washington St., Hagerstown.

A Martinsburg man was charged in that incident.

Mooney also was injured on Nov. 16 at the corner of Raleigh and Race streets in Martinsburg. In that scuffle, he was hospitalized when he was hit in the head with a real estate sign, according to police reports.

The maximum penalty for first-degree assault is 25 years in prison. Reckless endangerment and wearing/carrying a handgun with intent to injure carry a five-year maximum each.

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