Evidentiary hearing set for Gill man accused of attempted murder

  • Wesley E. Johnson in Greenfield District Court at a dangerousness hearing on Aug. 3. Johnson, of Gill, is due back in court at 11 a.m. on Oct. 8 for a bindover hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to move the case to Superior Court, as District Court does not have jurisdiction over the assault with intent to murder charge that Johnson faces following a July 22 incident. RECORDER FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 8/26/2021 4:41:07 PM

GREENFIELD – The Gill man accused of attempted murder following a July 22 incident was ordered to be back in Greenfield District Court Oct. 8 for a bindover hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to transfer the case to Franklin County Superior Court.

Wesley E. Johnson, 64, had on July 22 pleaded not guilty to charges of armed assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm without an FID card, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building. The charges stem from an alleged incident shortly before 2 a.m. that day. He was ordered held without the right to bail following a dangerousness hearing earlier this month.

His attorney, Alfred P. Chamberland, explained the charge of armed assault with intent to murder will have to be dismissed or bumped up to Superior Court because District Court does not have jurisdiction over that charge.

Johnson was not present in court Thursday morning when Judge William F. Mazanec III scheduled the Oct. 8 session after conferring with Assistant District Attorney Ryan Scott, who is prosecuting the case for the state, and Chamberland. Mazanec denied Chamberland’s motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. Chamberland said he still awaits photographs of the alleged crime scene.

According to a police report filed by State Trooper Garrett Hall, he was dispatched to 91 Main Road in Gill at 2:20 a.m. on July 22 on a report of a man who had fired shots at a house. The 911 caller also stated two people had barricaded themselves inside a nearby cabin to escape the gunfire.

While en route, Hall was advised by Trooper Anthony Martino that he was on the phone with the suspect, later identified as Johnson, who was calmly waiting for police outside the residence. Hall reports he and other troopers arrived and were met by the woman who had initially called 911.

Hall reports he placed Johnson in restraints and informed him he was not under arrest at the time. Johnson declined medical treatment for a nose laceration that was bleeding. The other troopers made contact with the man and woman barricaded inside the cabin.

Once troopers secured the scene and ensured all parties were accounted for, the woman who initially called 911 said everyone there had been hanging out earlier in the night and having drinks, according to Hall’s report. Johnson and one of the people barricaded inside the cabin had allegedly gotten into a physical altercation during the night. The woman said Johnson went into his residence and returned with a gun after the fight. She reportedly told police she went into the house but heard the other man say, “What, are you going to shoot me?” She then reportedly heard multiple gunshots.

The woman allegedly told police that Johnson then reentered the house and she could hear him access a safe where she knows he stores firearms. The woman said Johnson went outside again and she could hear several more gunshots.

Hall reported the two people barricaded in the cabin were uncooperative during questioning, but the man said he and a woman ran inside the cabin when they heard gunshots. The man also said he heard more shots fired outside the door and he laid on the ground to avoid being struck.

Hall wrote that Johnson said he and another man got into an argument but nothing happened. Johnson reportedly said his cousin left with the gun, though he later said he tossed it into the woods. The woman who had called 911 reportedly said Johnson’s cousin was not at the property during the incident.

Hall also reports there was a blood trail leading from Johnson’s residence to the front door of the cabin where the man and woman were hiding. There was also a shell casing from a .22-caliber bullet at the cabin door as well as a bullet hole, according to Hall. Johnson does not have a license to carry a firearm.

Scott, the assistant district attorney prosecuting the case, also said Johnson was involved in a similar situation in 2014.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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