ONLY ON CVP: A Fairview man whose lawyer said he hadn’t had as much as a traffic ticket before pleaded guilty today to carrying a loaded gun when police found him taking refuge in a church courtyard after losing his business, house and family.
Vincenzo Riccobono, 55, could be out of jail before his sentencing next month in connection with the September 2013 arrest.
Riccobono said he went to the open courtyard of Our Lady of Grace Church, as he often did, thanks to a priest there who let him stay.
This time, a different priest who didn’t know him called police.
Riccobono knew the two officers who reponded. One of them checked his bags, which contained some clothing, fruit and tomatoes from his backyard — along with a Rexio RJ .38-caliber handgun (inside a brown paper bag) and some hollow-nosed bullets.
Riccobono readily admitted the gun and ammo was his, as well as a knife that police said he was carrying, authorities said.
Defense attorney Gail Hargrove said Riccobono at first intended to file a civil rights challenge to the search, claiming that no one had reason to believe that he was trespassing.
But after discovering that he could have faced up to 42 months in state prison if it failed, he pleaded guilty to a second-degree count of carrying a firearm without a premit.
Prosecutors dropped charges involving possession of the bullets and the knife.
The five-year sentence that Riccobono agreed to makes him eligible for parole after a year. If given credit for time served, he could be free soon.
STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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