Plea Deal Reached

LEON – A plea deal was reached Thursday in the case of 20-year-old Eli W. Wengerd of Leon whose gun was allegedly involved in the accidental shooting of an 8-year-old Amish boy.

According to Ashley Milliman, Leon town justice, Wengerd pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon at Leon Town Court, the result of a plea deal agreed upon by Erich Weyand, assistant district attorney, and Darryl Bloom, assistant public defender.

A presentence investigation was ordered through the Cattaraugus County Department of Probation, Milliman said. Wengerd will be back in court for sentencing on April 10 at 5 p.m.

Wengerd was charged Dec. 19 after his unregistered .22-caliber gun discharged and wounded his younger brother in the chest on Dec. 12.

According to Captain Robert Buchhardt of the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office, the incident occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m. inside the boy’s home, where one of the boy’s brothers allegedly picked up the gun and shot him while playing.

“It appears to be an accident,” Buchhardt said at the time. “They didn’t know the gun was loaded.”

The 8-year-old was transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk. He is currently at his home and in stable condition.