ELKTON — A man accused of pointing a gun at his girlfriend’s head inside their North East apartment is facing up to 30 years in sentences – including a mandatory five-year prison term — after a jury found him guilty of all charges, according to Cecil County Circuit Court records.
Jurors deliberated about two hours on Thursday, at the conclusion of a two-day-long trial, before finding the defendant, John Joseph Scott Jr., 25, now of Newark, Del., guilty of the most serious charge, first-degree assault, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
The jury also convicted Scott of use of a firearm in the commission of a crime of violence or a felony, an offense that carries a mandatory five-year sentence.
In addition, the jury found Scott guilty of second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, punishable by up to 10 and 5 years in prison respectively.
It is likely, however, that the latter two convictions will merge with the first two at sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 17, court records show.
After the jury returned its guilty verdicts, Cecil County Circuit Court Judge Brenda A. Sexton revoked Scott’s $50,000 bond, which he had posted in July to gain his pre-trial freedom. Deputies took Scott into custody inside the courtroom, after the judge revoked his bond.
Jurors concluded that Scott pointed a .22 caliber rifle at his girlfriend’s head inside their apartment in the 400 block of Mauldin Avenue on June 12, 2018, causing her to fear for her life, before lowering the long gun several seconds later.
His now-former girlfriend tearfully testified Nov. 13, telling jurors that the gun barrel touched the side of her face as Scott pointed the firearm at her.
Scott pointed the gun while he was upset because she had been away from the apartment for several hours running errands – including going to a doctor’s appointment and washing their co-mingled laundry at her parents’ Delaware home – and because she had plans to dine with her mother at a restaurant that night, according to the woman.
With the gun leveled on her, Scott told his then-girlfriend that she could not leave the apartment and that she had to stay there with him, she said. His then-girlfriend walked out of the apartment, however, when her mother arrived for their dinner date shortly after Scott had started pointing the gun, the woman added. She informed Scott that her mother was outside the apartment and that he had to stop, according to her testimony.
The woman also testified that, although he momentarily pointed a gun at her, Scott did not strike her or touch her in any other way during the incident. Trial testimony did not indicate if the gun was loaded.
The woman went to dinner with her mother that night, as planned, and she told her mother that Scott had pointed a gun at her, according to her testimony.
Before returning to the apartment that night, the woman called authorities, notified them that she was leaving her boyfriend and requested that a police officer come to that address to keep the peace while she removed all of her belongings.
The woman did not mention that Scott had pointed a gun at her, until a second officer arrived at the apartment as she was gathering her stuff.
Her assertion led to an investigation in which officers found three long guns, which they linked to Scott, inside the apartment and confiscated them.
Assistant State’s Attorney Emma Lee Hohner prosecuted Scott, who was represented by Elkton-based defense lawyer C. Thomas Brown.
Scott declined to testify in his own defense at trial.
During his opening statement and his closing argument to jurors, Brown emphasized that no one witnessed the incident inside that apartment — meaning it was the woman’s word against his client’s word.
Brown also questioned why the woman did not mention that Scott had pointed a gun at her, while arranging for a police officer to accompany her to the apartment to keep the peace and while interacting with that first police officer on scene after they met there.