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Man sentenced in Lehighton shooting

Published November 20. 2013 05:00PM

A Kunkletown man, involved in a shooting incident in Lehighton in 2012, pleaded guilty in Carbon County court on Tuesday and was immediately sentenced to a state prison term.

Joseph Andrew Pellegrino Jr., 43, entered a plea to one count of aggravated assault before Judge Steven R. Serfass, and was immediately sentenced to serve 42 to 84 months in a state prison.

Pellegrino was charged for an incident in Lehighton on Oct. 4, 2012, at 207 N. First St. Borough police said Pellegrino pointed a gun at Michael Taschler but it misfired sparing the victim serious injuries. The incident occurred over a bad debt, police said.

In a plea agreement charges of criminal attempt-homicide, possession of a firearm prohibited and other firearm violations were dropped.

The incident occurred about 1:15 a.m. in the downtown business district. The affidavit of probable cause stated that a friend of Pellegrino was owed money by Taschler. Pellegrino was staying with two other individuals, Alyssa Neff and Edward Hendershot Jr. Hendershot was the person allegedly owed the money.

Police said Taschler was asked by Pellegrino if he had anything for Hendershot, meaning money from a supposed debt. When Taschler said he did not Pellegrino pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. Taschler then ran away.

Pellegrino disputed the facts yesterday, saying Hendershot pulled out the weapon and began to point it at Taschler. He said he grabbed the gun from Hendershot.

However, he did admit firing at least three shots from the weapon, but claiming all three were fired in the air and not at Taschler.

Defense attorney Michael Gough said his client is an intelligent individual who makes very bad decisions.

In addition to the jail term, Pellegrino was ordered to supply a DNA sample, attend and complete anger management counseling, and get a mental health evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment.

Pellegrino, who has been in jail since his arrest, was given credit for 412 days spent in prison on the charge.

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