Handgun lands felon behind bars

A 30-year-old felon was sentenced last week to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to a firearms charge.

At a sentencing hearing on Thursday, Jan. 9, John Finocchiaro of Cortez apologized to the court, law enforcement and the victims. He claimed his drug use led to his downward spiral and criminal activity.

“I’m sorry,” Finocchiaro said. “I’m at your mercy, your honor.”

Facing a maximum three-year sentence, Chief District Court Judge Doug Walker did grant some leniency, imposing an 18-month prison term for Finocchiaro. Walker said the defendant’s drug problem; however, was not the court’s problem.

“Because of your drug problem, you’re more dangerous than a normal person,” Walker told Finocchiaro. “People like you endanger my freedom.”

Finocchiaro has at least three previous felony firearms related convictions, dating back to 2002 for assault with a deadly weapon. He was last convicted in 2012 for felony menacing for use of force with a deadly weapon.

District Attorney Will Furse argued for a two-year prison term, citing the defendant was unable to follow the rules of law.

“Two years in a cage is probably enough, but I’m not sure,” Furse said.

Public defender Justin Bogan said his client had an unhealthy fascination of firearms, but added that no one was injured in the current case.

“Mr. Finocchiaro thinks he looks cool with firearms,” Bogan said, “but he’s not a sociopath. He just needs to grow up.”

Addressing the court via telephone, Finocchiaro’s mother said she was very disappointed in her son’s behavior. She too blamed her son’s drug addiction.

“John is an addict with problems,” she said. “He’s loving and compassionate when he’s sober.”

Finocchiaro, also known as Fetus, was released from prison in August 2013 on the felony menacing conviction. He was arrested a month later for violating his parole, and pleaded guilty in December to possessing a small silver handgun inside a home with children.

The seized weapon will be forfeited.

Other court news

In other court news, proceedings were continued until Feb. 4 for former Montezuma County Undersheriff Robin Cronk. He was scheduled for a hearing on Friday, Jan. 10.

The former lawman faces a 17-count indictment for embezzlement, allegedly pilfering nearly $7,500 from taxpayers for personal expenses over a 26-month time span.

Also, arraignment hearings for suspected burglars Tara L. Montgomery, 31, and Mark D. Williams, 41, were rescheduled until Feb. 6, and Feb. 18, respectively. Both suspects appeared in court on Thursday, Jan. 9, on felony charges for theft and second-degree burglary. The case involves six co-defendants, Furse said.

Finally, convicted sex offender Andrew Allmon, 54, also had his arraignment rescheduled for Feb. 6. In custody under a $30,000 bond, Allmon appeared in court on Thursday, Jan. 9. He faces nine felony charges of sexual assault on a child. A plea deal is expected, according to a public defender.

tbaker@cortezjournal.com