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Rotunno faces new charges in Syracuse

By: Denise M. Champagne//June 10, 2011

Rotunno faces new charges in Syracuse

By: Denise M. Champagne//June 10, 2011

A Greece man accused of threatening to kill former President George W. Bush is facing new weapons-related charges in Syracuse.

The threat charge against Ian L. Rotunno, 24, was dismissed Friday morning by U.S. Magistrate Judge Marian W. Payson in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Rochester. Judge Payson told Rotunno that since he last appeared May 31, he had been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of New York in Syracuse. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley E. Tyler said the new charges are drug use in possession of a firearm and drug use in possession of ammunition.

Rotunno turned himself into police in Owego, Tioga County, Oct. 7, 2010, after allegedly threatening to kill Bush. A loaded 12-gauge shotgun, flare gun, ammunition and several knives were found in his vehicle, according to court documents. At the May 31 detention hearing, Tyler said a metal pipe with marijuana residue was also found.

Owego is in the Northern District. The case originated in the Western District based on comments Rotunno allegedly made to a Secret Service agent during an Oct. 19 interview at St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell, Steuben County, where he had been transported for a psychiatric evaluation and admitted. Hornell is in the Western District of New York.

Rotunno was released from the hospital Oct. 26 when he was charged with expressing a threat to kill a former president.

That indictment alleged Rotunno left his job in Gates about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 7 after telling a co-worker he was “going to go home, I’m grabbing my shotgun and I’m heading to Washington, D.C.

“The subject advised that he was en route to Washington, D.C. to discharge his shotgun into the reflecting pool in order to draw the attention of authorities and be arrested or killed by federal law enforcement or a local police department,” according to the criminal complaint filed Oct. 22. “Additionally, Rotunno stated to special agents … that if he were in the same room as former President George W. Bush, he would ‘kill him with his bare hands.’”

Rotunno allegedly reiterated those threats during the hospital interview, but Federal Public Defender Mark D. Hosken said at the May 31 hearing that the doctor present during the interview said he did not hear any remarks about threatening to kill the president.

On Friday, Judge Payson granted Hosken’s motion to dismiss the complaint and released Rotunno, who was then taken into custody by U.S. marshals to be transported to Syracuse. Tyler said attorneys from the Northern District reviewed the history of the case and a collective decision was made to move prosecution to the Northern District.

Rotunno appeared before Judge Payson for a preliminary hearing that was no longer necessary with the case being transferred.

A new indictment, filed June 2 in a partial report by the grand jury, alleges Rotunno is a drug user who possessed a 12-gauge shotgun and 10 live rounds Oct. 7 in the Northern District of New York in violation of Title 18 United States Code Sections 922(g)(3) and 924(a)(2).

Hosken said the maximum sentence Rotunno could receive would be 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of post-release supervision.

If convicted, according to the indictment, Rotunno will be required to forfeit the gun and ammunition and any firearms and ammunition involved in committing an offense. Rotunno was scheduled to make his initial appearance and be arraigned on the new charges late Friday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge David E. Peebles. Any additional charges were expected to be unsealed at that time.

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