A 51-year-old Windber man accused of firing a gun in the direction of a woman during a domestic dispute was sentenced Thursday to 83 days to 23 months in Somerset County Jail followed by one year of supervised probation. The woman was not injured.
President Judge John M. Cascio credited Lester Gindlesperger, Paint Township, for time served and paroled him immediately. Initially he was charged by Paint Township police with attempted murder.
Police said that on Oct. 20 Gindlesperger pointed a gun in the direction of the woman and pulled the trigger at a residence they share along Clearview Heights. The bullet struck a pillow next to her head on a love seat in the living room, police said.
The woman told police her cellphone rang a few seconds before the incident, but she did not answer it because she knew the call was from another man. Gindlesperger, who was on the couch across from her, made a comment to her. When she looked up, he had the gun, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Police found a Smith & Wesson .41-caliber revolver on the floor in the living room with one bullet fired and four rounds still in the chamber.
"We (public defenders) told him when things like this occur, which you find unlikable or disagreeable, you certainly don't solve it with a firearm," his attorney William Carroll told Cascio at the sentencing, according to court documents.
Key conditions of Gindlesperger's probation include no use or possession of alcoholic beverages, he must undergo mental health assessment and the successful completion of any recommended treatment or counseling. He must surrender all weapons in the house to the district attorney's office for safekeeping until a court order states otherwise.
After a plea arrangement that accelerated the trial process, Gindlesperger waived his arraignment in county court, pleaded guilty to terroristic threats and recklessly endangering another person and was sentenced — all on one day, according to court documents.
Part of the plea arrangement included District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser waiving any weapons enhancement, which would have meant mandatory jail time.
"One of the reasons we asked the district attorney to try to get this case expedited was because of our inability to find some facility or some way to help him while he remains incarcerated," Carroll said.
Gindlesperger will return to the same residence with his longtime female companion, who has power of attorney for Gindlesperger. She plans to assist him in finding help for physical and apparent mental health problems, she told the court.