August 1, 2014

Medina
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Man who unintentionally shot houses gets probation

MEDINA — A Parma man will spend three years on probation for unintentionally hitting two Montville Township houses with bullets from an assault rifle while he was target shooting about a third of a mile away.

Medina County Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier prohibited the man, R. Daniel Volpone, from owning firearms as part of a condition of probation. Collier said Volpone’s attorney, David Sheldon, could make a motion in three months to have the judge review the weapons ban.

R. Daniel Volpone, right, is sentenced Monday to three years of probation for hitting two Montville Township houses with bullets from an AK-47-like semiautomatic assault rifle while target practicing in January. Seated with Volpone is his attorney, David Sheldon. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

Sheldon said he wasn’t sure whether Volpone, 45, would be able to continue work at his job as a security officer, where he carries a sidearm.

Volpone had been awaiting sentencing in the county jail since Aug. 1, when a jury convicted him of firing a gun over a public road, a third-degree felony. Collier could have punished Volpone with up to three years in prison.

Collier did sentence Volpone to 48 days in jail, but gave him 48 days of credit for his time served awaiting sentencing.

Volpone was accused of target shooting with an AK-47-style assault rifle without a proper backstop in the backyard of a friend, Mark Bornino.

Bornino pleaded guilty to vandalism after a trial on an identical charge ended in a hung jury. Bornino’s charge is a fifth-degree felony, punishable by up to a year in prison but the plea bargain agreement called for no jail time.

Both men said they were drinking beer at the time, but police said they hadn’t consumed enough to become intoxicated.

No one was injured in the shooting, but a police sergeant reported hearing shots whiz past his head, and a family reported a bullet struck their home and lodged in an eye-level microwave moments after they left the kitchen.

At Volpone’s sentencing hearing Monday, he said he felt personally responsible for hitting the homes in January. He said he was sorry and asked forgiveness from the court and the victims.

“I should have known the rifle could have went further than its intended destination,” Volpone said. “I was reckless in what I did, and I’m sorry.”
Collier said he believed Volpone was sincere, but said Volpone still put the victims and police in severe danger.

“I don’t think you intended to do it,” Collier said. “But you caused them a real concern for their safety.”

Mary Kuruc, whose family narrowly avoided injury in their kitchen, said Volpone came to their home shortly after the shooting to apologize and offered to pay for the damages — which exceeded $2,700.

“While my family and I don’t condone what Mr. Volpone did,” Kuruc told the judge at the hearing, “we do believe he has taken responsibility.”
She asked the judge not to send him to prison.

“I’m pretty sure what they see is right,” Collier said of Kuruc’s statement.

As additional conditions of Volpone’s probation, he must pay for half the damage to the Kuruc home. He also is barred from having contact with his co-defendant.

Bornino awaits his Oct. 7 sentencing at the county jail.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.