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Brother pleads to assault

June 01, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A Hancock man who admitted pointing a gun at his brother during a Jan. 4 argument was given a six-year suspended prison sentence Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

In exchange for Joseph Patrick Fotta's guilty plea to a second-degree assault charge, charges of first-degree assault and reckless endangerment were dropped.

Fotta told Judge Donald Beachley he was sorry "the whole thing had to happen."

Maryland State Police were called to a residence on reports of a disturbance around 9 p.m.

The defendant's brother, Steven Fotta, told them a .22-caliber rifle had been pointed at him and shots had been fired.

Joseph Fotta, 37, of 14234 Reel Road, had left the residence and was arrested later.

He has been in the Washington County Detention Center for the past five months.

"We agreed to the plea because of the scarcity of witnesses ... because it's family," said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes.

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Defense attorney John Corderman told Beachley that his client had been drinking that night, but said he now lives with his father and would be willing to undergo alcohol counseling.

Beachley ordered such counseling to be done while he is on probation for three years. The judge also ordered that Joseph Fotta have no firearms.

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