Man sentenced in firearm-fireworks case

He gets time served, 2 years' probation for shooting by homes

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

Published:

 

A Minnehaha resident was sentenced Wednesday to the 52 days he's already served in jail and two years of probation for firing three rounds of ammunition near his neighbors' homes June 30 because he was upset about noise from neighborhood fireworks.

Corey A. Moulton, 42, pleaded guilty in Clark County Superior Court to gross misdemeanor harassment and illegally discharging a firearm in exchange for the prosecutor dropping a first-degree assault charge.

"I didn't want to hurt anybody," Moulton told Judge Barbara Johnson. "I didn't plan on scaring anybody. I just wanted that (gun) for protection from the people I was going to talk to."

Moulton will be required to forfeit the shotgun used in the incident and will not be allowed to possess a weapon during his probation. He's also required to undergo anger management counseling.

He was expected to be released from jail later on Wednesday, said his court-appointed attorney, Louis Byrd Jr.

"I think this was a fair resolution for a first-time nonviolent offender," he said. Moulton would have faced up to 28 months in prison had he been convicted of the original charge, he said.

Moulton has a history of depression, and the days of fireworks around Independence Day were "disturbing" to him, Byrd said.

"He doesn't have any criminal history," the defense attorney said. "This was his first brush with incarceration, and it had a significant impact on him."

In fact, on July 12, Byrd requested that Moulton undergo a competency evaluation because the Clark County Jail had been keeping him on a suicide watch. Western State Hospital did the evaluation and found, in a report issued July 24, that he has the mental capacity to assist in his defense, said Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu.

Vu said Moulton fired the shots into an embankment in the neighborhood near the 4900 block of Northeast 19th Avenue, as four of his neighbors watched in terror. Two of the neighbors ducked behind a vehicle because they feared that Moulton would shoot them, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in court.

Vu said Moulton told the victims: "You want to blow (expletive) up? I'll blow you up!"

"It was, I'm sure, a very frightening thing to the people who were threatened," Johnson told Moulton. "Fireworks can be upsetting to people, but you have to be someone who controls their emotions and doesn't threaten other people."

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com