NEW PHILADELPHIA — The lawyer for a man convicted of multiple charges as the result of a Dec. 5 shooting near Newcomerstown has asked the judge in the case to overturn most of the jury’s guilty verdicts.
Defense attorney Travis Collins said Monday that the prosecutor did not prove that Ian A. Cultrona knew that two other men charged in connection with the same incident had guns.
For that reason, he asked Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Judge Edward O’Farrell to acquit Cultrona of three counts of felonious assault and accompanying firearms specifications that carry a mandatory three-year sentence.
Collins also asked the judge to acquit Cultona on three charges of attempted murder, which ended in a mistrial on April 3, when a jury reached verdicts on all other charges. Acquittal would end the attempted murder charges. Theoretically, the prosecutor could seek another trial on the attempted murder charges as the case stands now.
In addition to felonious assault, the jury found Cultrona guilty of aggravated robbery, but not a related firearm specification. The jury found him not guilty of conspiracy. Cultrona was not accused of firing a weapon during the crime.
O’Farrell mentioned a "dissonance" in the conviction on aggravated robbery, which includes the use or display of a weapon, and not guilty verdict on the related firearm specification, which means that a gun was used in the commission of the crime. He said the issue was "problematic," but not before the court at this time.
Arguing against post-conviction acquittal, Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer said Cultrona knew that a gun would be used in the robbery, and was thus responsible for the natural and probable consequences of its use.
He also said the jury may rightly have convicted Cultrona of the aggravated robbery charge because he aided and abetted others who did use guns in the crime. But the jury might have acquitted Cultrona of the related firearms charge because they believed he did not brandish or use a gun himself.
Styer also said Cultrona drove his van to the Liberty Road site where the robbery occurred, and for this reason could be considered an active participant in the crime.
The judge did not rule Monday on the motion to acquit.
Cultrona, 36, of Coshocton, is facing a potential prison sentence of 38 years for his role in the armed robbery that cost a 17-year-old the tip of his finger. Cultrona is scheduled to be sentenced May 20.
Douglas Casteel, 30, who was indicted on charges of attempted murder, felonious assault, aggravated robbery and conspiracy -- the same charges on which Cultrona was tried — in connection with the same incident, entered a plea Monday and avoided a trial which had been scheduled to begin Tuesday.