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Man sentenced in road rage case

March 10, 2004|BY PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Because a Waynesboro, Pa. man who pointed a gun at another car on the highway last October had no prior adult criminal record and had held a job, a Washington County Circuit judge said Monday he would suspend his sentence and place him on probation.

Tony Lee Frye Jr., whose last address before his arrest was 8586 Capitol Hill Road in Waynesboro, pleaded guilty in January to charges of second-degree assault and carrying a handgun.

He was charged in an October road rage incident in which a gun was pointed at a car carrying three passengers on southbound Interstate 81.

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Following a tip from one of the car's passengers, police found Frye at Prime Outlets and recovered a .22-caliber pistol loaded with seven live rounds, police said.

Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley said the maximum sentence Frye could serve on a second-degree assault charge would be 10 years. In light of the five months Frye served at the Washington County Detention Center, Beachley ordered a suspended sentence of seven years to run concurrently with a suspended sentence of one year and one day on the handgun charge.

Beachley ordered Frye to serve five years of probation, with the first 18 months to be supervised. He ordered that Frye complete an anger management course, among other probation requirements.

"I will tell you I've done a lot of thinking about this case," Beachley said.

"It's a serious offense - pointing a handgun at somebody," he said.

Charles Strong, Washington County Deputy State's Attorney, said there was no written impact statement from the victims, but in a conversation with a state's attorney's office employee, a victim said he "wanted to teach the boy a lesson."

Strong said that during the pre-sentence investigation, Frye indicated he was carrying the gun to protect himself "from some people over some girl."

Frye's defense attorney, Bill Knight, said, "This is a kind of straightforward thing that happens quite often in our society."

He asked that his client be allowed to live at his mother's Brunswick, Md.-home along with his sister, niece and wife. After finding out that no guns were at the residence, Beachley said Frye could live there.

His mother, Donna Frye, stood up in court to address Beachley's questions about her own criminal background. She said she had been "in and out of court" more than 10 years ago, but has not been back since.

Tony Frye said, "I'm sorry for what I've done. I realize that someone could have been seriously hurt ... Never again will I have possession of a handgun."

Frye said that before the incident he was making $15 an hour as a laborer and was in line to buy a house.

Beachley asked, "Are you going to have a life that is filled with in and out of prisons or are you going to have a productive life?"

Frye said he wanted to raise a family.

"I'd wait on that," Beachley said.

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