A Meadville man has been sentenced in Crawford County Court to at least three years in state prison on simple assault and related charges for firing a gun at two people in Meadville in April 2008.

Judge John Spataro sentenced Ellis Munson, 36, of 1073 Liberty St., Meadville on Tuesday to three to six years in state prison for the incident. It will run consecutive to a one-year to five-year state prison sentence for drunken driving given to Munson in Crawford County Court last July.

Spataro called Munson’s actions “a serious threat to our community.”

Meadville Police Department had filed the charges against Munson for an April 26, 2008, incident where he fired at least two shots from a rifle at Greg Nageotte and Cassandra Martin. No one was struck by the bullets.

A jury convicted Munson in January of one count each of simple assault and terroristic threats, two counts of reckless endangerment and one count of discharging a firearm in the city.

The jury acquitted Munson of three counts of aggravated assault, two other counts of simple assault and one count of attempt to commit murder.

“I was definitely wrong for what I did,” Munson said to Spataro prior to his sentencing.

The incident happened around 2:30 a.m. April 26, 2008, in East Alley behind Munson’s home.

Testimony presented during the trial had Nageotte walking home from a bar when he encountered Munson talking to Martin, who was Nageotte’s live-in girlfriend.

When Nageotte and Martin attempted to leave, Munson allegedly went into his home and returned with a rifle.

Munson had claimed Nageotte had a knife and wanted Nageotte to leave his property. Munson had claimed when he went inside his home he then heard Martin screaming, and Munson returned with both a .30-30 and a .22 rifle, according to authorities.

Munson was accused by police of firing one of the rifles at both Nageotte and Martin.

Munson admitted to drinking and using cocaine prior to the incident. He then hid from authorities for three weeks before he was captured.

Members of Munson’s family asked for leniency as did Dan Mason, Munson’s defense attorney, who asked the judge to consider giving Munson a county-level sentence with work-release privileges.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Spataro noted Munson had an extensive prior record both as a juvenile and adult, but not a history of violence.

Spataro said he agree with the jury that Munson apparently wasn’t intending to kill anyone when he fired the gun, but had committed crimes against the victims and society.

“The (citizens of the) city expect and are entitled to safety,” Spataro said.

Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at kgushard@meadvilletribune.com.

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