Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fiancé gets probation, but denied contact with 4-year-old shooting victim

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 9/30/2013

A 40-year-old Ottawa man received 36 months of supervised probation Monday in connection with the accidental shooting of a 4-year-old boy Jan. 4 in Ottawa.

District Judge Thomas H. Sachse ordered Brian K. Bruno not to have any contact with the victim for the duration of his probation. The victim is the child of Bruno’s fiancée.

A 40-year-old Ottawa man received 36 months of supervised probation Monday in connection with the accidental shooting of a 4-year-old boy Jan. 4 in Ottawa.

District Judge Thomas H. Sachse ordered Brian K. Bruno not to have any contact with the victim for the duration of his probation. The victim is the child of Bruno’s fiancée.

Bruno was led from Franklin County District Court in handcuffs Monday afternoon to serve 60 days in the Franklin County Adult Detention Center, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa, as another condition of his probation.

Bryan Hastert, Bruno’s attorney, had filed a motion asking the judge to depart from the state’s normal sentencing guidelines and place Bruno on probation. Sachse sentenced Bruno Sept. 9 to 52 months with the Kansas Department of Corrections on one count of aggravated battery and 12 months on one count of child endangerment. The two sentences would run concurrently.

At the time of Bruno’s sentencing, Sachse said he would issue his decision regarding Hastert’s motion Monday afternoon.

As part of a plea agreement worked out between Hastert and the Franklin County Attorney’s Office, the prosecution said it would not oppose the defense motion. Bruno had no prior felony convictions.

Sachse agreed to accept Hastert’s motion for departure from a presumptive prison sentence and grant Bruno supervised probation. But the judge did not agree with the defense’s request to allow Bruno to have contact with the victim.

The 4-year-old gunshot victim is the son of Bruno’s fiancée, and the couple still plans to wed, Hastert explained to the judge. He said Bruno’s fiancée was in the courtroom and was willing to allow Bruno to have contact with the child.

“She may be OK with it, but I am not,” Sachse said.

Bruno already was catching a break by not being sentenced to prison for this serious crime, Sachse said, referring to Bruno’s actions as extremely reckless.

Officers with the Ottawa Police Department and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the reported accidental shooting of a child about 12:30 p.m. Jan. 4 in the 1100 block of North Oak Street. They found a 4-year-old boy who had suffered a gunshot wound to the upper left leg. The boy was taken by ambulance to Children’s Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, Mo., where he was treated for his wound and later released.

Bruno was taken into custody, and a handgun was recovered at the scene. Ottawa police later charged Bruno in connection with the shooting.

Two adults and two other children were inside the residence when the firearm was discharged, Capt. Adam Weingartner, with the Ottawa Police Department, said on the day of the shooting. No one else was injured, he said.

Sachse also ordered Bruno to register with the state as a serious offender and prohibited Bruno from possessing a firearm.

The judge told Bruno his probation could be revoked and he could be required to serve the 52-month prison sentence if he violated any conditions of his parole, including having contact with the victim.

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