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Gun used in New Ringgold murder is ordered destroyed

Published May 02. 2012 05:01PM

Three people sought possession of a murder weapon which the state police sought to destroy, and this led to a hearing before Judge John E. Domalakes in Schuylkill County court. The judge denied returning the weapon into society and ordered it destroyed.

The 44 magnum revolver was used on Jan. 14, 2010, by Cindy Arndt to shoot her husband. Ronald Arndt II, who operated Randy Arndt Gun Shop in New Ringgold. She then shot herself. Both died of gunshot wounds. The police confiscated the gun, found lying beside her, and also an unlicensed sawed-off shotgun found in the home.

Seeking possession of the revolver was Randolph Arndt Sr., now living in Wyoming, father of the murdered man; Joshua Arndt, 416 N. Keim St., New Ringgold, son of the victim; and Dennis Paul Dunkel, Pottsville, the original owner of the gun. Dunkel told police he had purchased it from the gun shop, but became dissatisfied and traded it for a shotgun in 1983.

Dunkel later wrote the police that he did not trade it, but rather returned it to the shop for repairs. It was also revealed that he had a criminal record since the time he brought the gun to the shop.

At the hearing, the district attorney's office, representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, argued to the court that it was now illegal for Dunkel to own a gun because of the criminal record.

Joshua Arndt, 21, testified the victim of the homicide was his father and the perpetrator his stepmother.

Joshua said that at the time of his father's death, the gun was owned by his father and was in his father's possession. He said his father owned about 83 guns and that this one was part of his collection. He asked the gun be given him as part of a "family heritage." He admitted he never owned a gun..

The grandfather, Randolph W. Arndt Sr., did not appear at the hearing, but in a letter said he was a licensed gun dealer and his records show he acquired the gun from Dunkel in 1983 and that he transferred the weapon to his wife, Patricia Arndt, on Feb. 24, 1984, and that his wife subsequently transferred it to the decedent as a gift on July 20, 1989. He claimed the gun was transferred back to his business because his son was having marital problems.

"In this case, we are not dealing with contraband per se because the weapon was not unlawful in and of itself. Here, we are definitely dealing with derivative contraband because, although innocent in itself, it is undisputed that the property had been used in the perpetration of an unlawful act -- that is the murder of someone and the suicide of the perpetrator of that murder. Therefore, in this case, since the Commonwealth has met its burden that the weapon was derivative contraband, it is subject to forfeiture and to destruction by the Commonwealth," Domalakes said.

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