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Man gets suspended sentence

August 01, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A Boonsboro business owner already on probation for several weapons violations committed in Washington County received a two-year suspended sentence last week on charges filed last December by a special crimes unit of the Maryland Attorney General's office.

Gerald Edward Downs II was charged by the special crimes unit with submitting a false application to purchase a regulated firearm.

Downs, 45, of 19835 Old Shepherdstown Pike, was placed on two years supervised probation by Howard County Circuit Judge Raymond Kane on July 25, said a spokesman in state Attorney General Joseph Curran's office.

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Downs, operator of Crystal Grottoes on Md. 34, was ordered to abstain from alcohol, complete both alcohol and anger management programs, pay a $250 fine and have no firearms in his possession, Kane's ruling said.

The latest charges stemmed from a firearms application submitted by Downs on Dec. 14 on which he signed under penalties of perjury that he was not subject to a protective court order filed to keep him away from another person, according to Curran's office.

An active protective court order was in force at the time in Washington County, according to Curran's office.

In the earlier matter heard on March 19, Downs pleaded guilty in Washington County Circuit Court to transporting a handgun in a vehicle. In May, he was placed on probation for two years.

Police alleged that on June 5, 2001, Downs was driving a farm tractor on Md. 34. Officers searched the tractor and found two loaded guns, police said.

Maryland State Police and Washington County Sheriff's deputies went to Downs' residence after receiving a report of an armed man riding a farm tractor in an intoxicated state, police reports said.

Several shotgun blasts were heard and a muzzle flash was seen coming from the grounds of Crystal Grottoes, followed by a shot from a handgun, police said.

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