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Distraught man tries to force girlfriend to shoot him

The cascade of emotions that can be unleashed when one person tries to end a romantic relationship can take many forms. Alcohol can often intensify the emotions and leads to domestic violence. The recent arrest of a Lackawanna County man shows how these ingredients can quickly reach a dangerous boil.

The couple in question had maintained a romantic relationship for 14 years when the woman told the man that she wanted to end their relationship. According to the woman's statement to police, the man had been drinking and the couple had been arguing. When the woman told the man that their relationship was finished, the man pointed a revolver at his head and threatened to pull the trigger. When he laid the gun on a table, the woman grabbed it. The man then lunged at her with a bayonet knife and pleaded for her to shoot him. The man then told the woman's daughter to shoot him and "Take me out of my misery." The daughter refused, locked herself in her room, and called 911.

The dispatcher warned responding officers that the man had an arsenal of weapons. The police obtained an emergency protection order and used it to enter the apartment and confiscate the man's weapons: 30 firearms, two swords, six knives and an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 rounds of ammunition. The man was arrested and charged with a number of crimes, including making terroristic threats and simple assault. He is being held in the Lackawanna County Prison on $75,000 bail.

Despite the apparently overwhelming evidence of guilt, the defendant in this case is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The presumption of innocent is an important right and should not be lightly cast aside. Anyone facing similar charges may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney to obtain an evaluation of the evidence, the availability of various defense strategies and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining a favorable plea agreement or an outright acquittal.

Source: Scranton Times-Tribune, "Weapons seized after police accuse man of threatening girlfriend with bayonet knife," Joseph Kohut, Feb. 27, 2016

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