YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: An Allendale landlord who decided to settle a dispute over parking on his lawn with a handgun was sentenced today to five years in prison, three of which he must serve before he’s eligible for parole.
Donald Scott agreed to the five-year term in exchange for admitting that he threatened his tenant with a handgun.
The trouble began when the tenant in his West Crescent Avenue mother-daughter house bought home a helper from his landscaping business who parked his car on the grass. Scott pointed a gun at him, and the tenant summoned police.
The Bergen County Police SWAT team was called in when Scott barricaded himself inside.
Authorities said Scott didn’t have a permit for the defaced Ruger .357 Magnum that they said turned up during a search of the house after he let them in.
They also found several other guns, two sets of metal knuckles, hollow-nosed bullets and an explosive fireworks device with artillery-level power that didn’t have “an explainable lawful purpose,” according to an 11-count indictment returned by a Bergen County grand jury.
Scott, 57, has been held on $100,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail since his July 10, 2012 arrest.
Prosecutors said Scott initially rejected their offer of a five-year prison sentence but then changed his mind on the eve of what was to be his trial.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Natalie Candela said Scott he faced very serious charges for the various weapons.
Although she said it is theoretically possible for him to have New York permits for them — as Scott claimed — he already had a weapons conviction in that state that prohibited it.
“In 1993, his girlfriend took an unregistered gun from his home and tried to commit suicide with it,” she said. “When police investigated, he said the gun was his.
“So while it’s possible to purchase weapons in New York and move to New Jersey with them in legal status, you can’t carry them without a specific New Jersey carry permit.”
The charges against him included pointing a firearm with “manifest indifference to human life”;several counts of firearms possession, including a separate charge for having a defaced firearm and another for “using it unlawfully against another person”; having an unregistered assault weapon with a large-capacity magazine; illegally possessing bronze and silver knuckles, as well as holow-nosed bullets; and illegally possessing a Class 1.3G explosive device measuring 11-3/4” TBB-1601 artillery without an explainable lawful purpose.
In the end, Scott pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.
Scott has requested the return of a bow and arrow that was seized. That could happen once he’s released, Candela said — provided he produces a receipt.
- STORY by Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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