PORTLAND – A man who shot an intruder outside his Dunkirk home was sentenced Wednesday to 60 days in the Jay County jail, followed by four months on home detention.
David McLaughlin, 32, was found guilty of criminal recklessness resulting in serious bodily injury by a Jay Superior Court jury on Sept. 4. Testimony indicated he fired three gunshots April 21 at a man he said had broken into his garage, at least two after the intruder had left his property and was running down an alley.
David A. Bailey, 29, of Albany — charged with burglary in the garage break-in — testified he was shot in the left arm.
On Wednesday, Judge Max Ludy Jr. — who agreed to reduce McLaughlin’s conviction from felony to misdemeanor status in a bid to preserve the defendant’s job as a letter carrier — said he found the firing of the first gunshot, in the direction of a neighbor’s home, especially “reprehensible.”
“You don’t fire guns at people’s houses,” Ludy said. “You kept saying you really didn’t know what was going on. If that’s the truth, why in the world would you fire a gun? … It really doesn’t matter if it was (at) Mr. Bailey or the mayor of Dunkirk. You just can’t do that.”
McLaughlin said the April incident has had a devastating impact on his family, leading to his suspension from his USPS job until the case was resolved.
“I’ve had to sell a lot of my personal belongings to get by,” he said.
Defense attorney Jill Gonzalez presented the testimony of her client’s pastor and friends of his family, who said he was a devoted family man with no history of violence.
The defendant — whose property had previously been targeted by thieves — said after firing the gunshots he “prayed to God” his bullets had not struck their intended target.