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Johnston Not Guilty In Accidental Shooting




Craig A. Johnston, the 35- year-old Wauseon man who owned the shotgun that was involved in the March 14 accidental shooting death of Michael J. Schwartz, Jr., 13, Wauseon, has been found not guilty.

Johnston had been charged with negligent homicide in Fulton County Western District Court in connection with the incident.

Felipe Villanueva, Jr., 14, Wauseon, was convicted of juvenile delinquency by way of negligent homicide in Fulton County Juvenile Court. His sentence included 90 days in a juvenile detention facility and house arrest.

In his judgment entry filed Friday afternoon, Aug. 24, Jeffrey Robinson, Western District judge, said the loaded shotgun was left in a room of Johnston’s home at 444 Howard Avenue, Wauseon.

It was leaning against a wall, with the safety off.

Craig Johnston had left for work, leaving his son, Blade, approximately the same age as Schwartz and Villanueva, home alone.

Villanueva had come to the Johnston house to walk to school with Schwartz and Blade Johnston. He picked up the shotgun and said he was going to “mess with Michael.”

Villanueva went into the living room where Schwartz was sitting, pointed the shotgun at him, and Robinson said, “apparently pulled the trigger.”

Schwartz was pronounced dead later that morning.

Perceived Risk

In his judgment entry, Robinson said Blade Johnston had been told not to allow other youths into his home when his father Craig Johnston, was not at home. Blade chose to violate the rule.

Since the defendant, Craig Johnston, didn’t know other children would be in the home and have access to the shotgun, he could not be expected to perceive a risk of someone harming another with the firearm.

“There is nothing in the record which indicates the defendant knew, or should have known, his son was disregarding this rule,” Robinson said in his judgment entry.

“No one else was to be in the house. What perceived risk did the defendant ignore?

“The defendant had no reason to believe his son was inviting other children into his home– let alone believe these children were accessing his office where the gun was located.”

Marijuana

Johnston also faces charges of possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in Western District Court.

Wauseon police officers allegedly found marijuana and related items in the home while they were investigating the shooting.



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