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Sharpsburg man sentenced for threatening best friend with gun

May 16, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A Sharpsburg man who erroneously believed his wife had been sexually assaulted by his best friend was sentenced Tuesday to serve 18 months in jail for holding a gun to the friend's head in April 1999, in full view of the friend's 10-year-old son.

Daniel Ray Kretzer, 47, of 5625 Mondell Road, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and reckless endangerment before Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone.

The April 16, 1999, incident occurred at 19007 Manor Church Road near Boonsboro where Roy Leon Shoemaker and his son, Zachary, both of Hagerstown, were checking out turkey hunting spots for the upcoming first day of the season, court records said.

Kretzer walked up to them with a .357-caliber Magnum handgun, placed it against Roy Shoemaker's head and threatened to "blow his brains out," court records said.

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Washington County Sheriff's deputies were summoned to the scene shortly after 8 p.m. after getting a call from a neighbor who saw two men - one with a gun to his head, court records said.

When deputies arrived, they stayed a distance away but soon saw a truck heading their way. Kretzer, who had 10 rounds of ammunition in his pockets, was taken into custody. His unloaded gun was found on the console of the truck, court records said.

Deputies learned that Kretzer had hit Shoemaker in the eye and then unloaded his gun, according to court records. After apologizing to Shoemaker, the two men and the boy hugged and then drove out to meet deputies, court records said.

Initially unaware of the unsubstantiated allegations concerning a sexual assault, Boone said he was having difficulty finding a motive for what he considered a serious matter.

Defense attorney Thomas Wade said when the allegation was made in November 1998, pressures began to build between Kretzer and his former best friend.

"I'm sorry for the crimes I committed," Kretzer said. "If I had known that counseling could help me deal with anger, this wouldn't have happened."

Kretzer has been in intensive counseling since January.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes said Kretzer's state of mind in no way mitigated pointing a handgun at someone.

Boone said he was convinced that Kretzer didn't point the gun at the child but was troubled by the child's presence during the episode.

"Bottom line is there is a 10-year-old boy, now 11, who is dealing with anger and fear," Shoemaker said. "He goes to bed fearing this man will come and get him."

"I don't want this court to overlook my son," Shoemaker said.

Boone said he wouldn't, calling the child the true victim in this case.

In addition to the 18-month jail sentence, Boone ordered Kretzer to be placed on probation for 18 months upon his release. He ordered the handgun to be forfeited and suspended Kretzer's hunting rights for two years.

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