Marshall County Jury Convicts Man Who Accosted Lost Couple
A jury found a Marshall County man guilty of wanton endangerment involving a firearm Monday in a day-long trial in Marshall County Circuit Court.
The defendant, Lonnie Lichwa, 63, was convicted of one of the two counts of wanton endangerment with which he had been charged after he fired shots from a gun when a couple entered his property in June.
Testimony came from Lichwa himself, the three individuals who were at the scene as well as officers who responded to the incident, which occurred on June 18.
The couple, Brent Wilson and Crystal Law Wilson, testified that they were driving in the vicinity of Lichwa’s property when Crystal Wilson accidentally drove onto a private road leading to Lichwa’s property.
The couple testified that Lichwa approached them from his house, pushed Brent Wilson and directed a racial slur at Crystal Wilson.
After Lichwa returned to his house and they began to exit the property, he came back outside and fired shots in their general direction, they said.
Lichwa testified that he was firing warning shots at the ground and did not intend to put anyone in danger. He said he fired three warning shots into the ground, and fired a fourth one closer toward Beaver, who had at that point entered the property.
Assistant Prosecutor Adam Barney argued that Lichwa created substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to the Wilsons by firing in their general direction.
“All it takes is for one of them to zig instead of zag,” Barney said during the prosecution’s closing arguments.
Lichwa’s attorney, John Gainer, argued that he didn’t endanger anyone because the warning shots were fired into the ground without intent to hurt the couple.
The jury deliberated for around 90 minutes before finding Lichwa guilty of one of his two charges. The trial concluded around 5:30 p.m.
Lichwa was released after his trial on post-conviction bond, and his sentencing hearing was not immediately scheduled Monday evening.
Wanton endangerment involving a firearm carries a potential sentence of one to five years in prison.