Mark Bornino, a 53-year-old Montville Township man accused of hitting two homes with bullets from an assault rifle while target-practicing, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced felony charge of vandalism.
Two weeks ago, his trial on a more serious charge — firing a gun over a public road, a third-degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison — ended in a hung jury.
He was scheduled for retrial Monday, but instead agreed to a plea agreement. In return for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to reduce the charge to vandalism, a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison.
Prosecutors did not ask for prison time.
“The state of Ohio wouldn’t recommend incarceration,” Medina County Assistant Prosecutor Michael McNamara told Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier.
McNamara also said he would not object to sealing the record of the conviction if Bornino qualifies.
“We will not oppose expungement if that comes up,” McNamara said.
Bornino was taken to the county jail to await an Oct. 7 sentencing.
County Prosecutor Dean Holman said he was happy with the outcome.
“I’m glad we’ve had a resolution to this case, and that Mr. Bornino took responsibility,” he said. “After the first trial, we looked for ways to conserve taxpayer resources.
“We believe this is the best way to do just that.”
Holman said plea negotiations began when it became obvious the jury was deadlocked.
Bornino’s attorney, V. Lee Winchell, said a plea deal became a viable option because Bornino didn’t want to put his family through another trial.
Holman commended McNamara for handling Bornino’s case and that of R. Daniel Volpone, who was convicted of firing a gun over a public road at a jury trial earlier this month.
Holman said he would not ask for prison time for Volpone, who also is in the county jail, awaiting a Sept. 16 sentencing.
Bornino and Volpone were arrested Jan. 16 after Montville Township police received two 911 calls that bullets had struck houses on Parnham Drive.
No one was hurt, but a police sergeant reported hearing shots whizzing past his head, and a family said they had just left their kitchen when a bullet came through a wall and lodged in an eye-level microwave.
Police said they found Bornino and Volpone a third of a mile away, firing an AK-47-type semiautomatic assault rifle in Bornino’s backyard at 5544 Windfall Road.
The men were shooting at paper targets without a proper backstop, police said, and some bullets flew downhill through a line of trees onto Parnham Drive.
The key question in both trials was whether the men acted recklessly in firing the gun. To answer that question, the juries needed to decide whether the men knew there were houses below, whether the ground worked as a sufficient backstop, and whether Bornino fired the rifle “from the hip.”
Mary Kuruc, whose home was struck by two bullets that day, said she was thankful the prosecutor’s office put in so much work on the case.
“I’m happy Mr. Bornino finally took responsibility for his actions,” she said.
Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.