Judge Permits Prosecutor To Keep Shotgun Used In Slaying While He Tries To Avoid Return To Owner

April 29, 1997|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A circuit judge has granted the state's attorney permission to keep a shotgun, which was confiscated after a boy was killed with it in 1995, while the prosecutor files an appeal aimed at preventing its return to its owner.

Anne Arundel State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said returning the weapon to Ronald Ruppert, 48, of Severn would violate federal law. Ruppert was convicted of child abuse in 1990, and federal law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms.

Police confiscated the gun in 1995 after Nicholas Pastore, a sixth-grader at Old Mill Middle School, was shot and killed with it while playing at Ruppert's home.

Judge Lawrence Rushworth Jr. acquitted Ruppert's son Daniel, now 13, of second-degree murder in a juvenile court proceeding in December. The judge ordered Weathersbee to return the gun Friday.

But Rushworth granted Weathersbee's request yesterday to keep the shotgun in a police storage facility while the state's attorney appeals that order.

Weathersbee said he would appeal Rushworth's order to the Court of Special Appeals.

Paul F. Harris, Ruppert's lawyer, said a decision on the appeal could take six months to a year.

Pub Date: 4/29/97

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