June 27, 2016

Partly cloudy

Man gets prison for bringing weapons to Batman movie

The North Ridgeville man caught carrying a loaded handgun and four knives into a Westlake movie theater last year was sentenced Thursday in Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court to six months in prison.

Scott A. Smith, 38, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of carrying concealed weapons. He refused to plead out to having weapons under disability charges and took those counts to trial.

Scott Smith

Common Pleas Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula, who handed down the sentence Thursday, cleared Smith of those charges during last month’s trial.

Smith was arrested by off-duty Westlake police Officer Jeremiah Bullins, who was working security at the Regal Cinemas at Crocker Park, on Aug. 4.

Smith had a 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, knives and ammunition in a satchel and was questioned about the bag by a theater employee. Bullins then questioned Smith, who was heading to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” about the bag and discovered the weapons.

Smith offered to return the weapons to his vehicle but was arrested instead. Police later discovered seven pistols and a dozen rifles and shotguns at his Emerald Drive home.

His attorney, Jack Hidebrand, who did not return a call seeking comment Thursday, previously said Smith was carrying the weapons as protection.

Smith’s arrest came just weeks after the massacre at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a midnight screening of the same film. The alleged shooter in that case, James Holmes, is awaiting trial.

Authorities had sought to bar Smith from getting back the guns that were confiscated from his home, but Maria Russo, spokeswoman for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty, said that Smith told the court Thursday that he has sold all of the guns that were in his house.

Russo said the buyer would have to deal with Westlake police, who have the weapons, to see whether they can have the weapons.

The weapons taken from Smith when he was arrested won’t be returned, she said.

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