August 21, 2014

Medina
Mostly clear
65°F

Man arrested for taking weapons to Batman movie pleads guilty

The North Ridgeville man who took a loaded handgun and four knives to a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” last year, just weeks after the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., has pleaded guilty to two counts of carrying concealed weapons.

Scott A. Smith

But Scott A. Smith, 38, refused to plead guilty to a third charge of having weapons under disability during an appearance in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Monday.

He will go to trial on that charge Wednesday, according to his attorney, Jack Hildebrand.

Smith was arrested Aug. 4, 2011, at the Regal Cinemas in Westlake after a theater manager and later an off-duty Westlake police officer working security questioned him about a satchel he was carrying and the “tactical position” he took up at the back of the theater.

Smith admitted to having the weapons after he was questioned by the police officer and offered to put them in his vehicle. Instead, the police officer arrested Smith, who doesn’t have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

“There was no question he was guilty of that, so he accepted responsibility,” Hildebrand said.

But he also said that Smith doesn’t believe he’s guilty of having weapons under disability, a charge that accuses him of being dependent on drugs that would bar him from possessing weapons.

Hildebrand said Smith, a self-employed contractor, was taking a prescription painkiller that was prescribed to him by a doctor, who has testified in a deposition that Smith was using the drug properly.

“He’s not drug dependent,” Hildebrand said. “He’s not in danger of becoming drug dependent.”

Maria Russo, spokeswoman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, said that Smith is accused of being on more than a lawful prescription drug. She said he is suspected of using several drugs, including marijuana.

In addition to the 9 mm semiautomatic pistol Smith had at the theater, the weapons under disability charge covers seven additional pistols, a dozen rifles and shotguns and thousands of rounds of ammunition seized during a search of Smith’s Emerald Drive home in North Ridgeville.

Contact Brad Dicken at (440) 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.