Gun charges moved to superior court

James J. McConkey
James J. McConkey (Photo Credit: The Westfield News)

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – A city man charged with assault and firearms infractions saw his charges in Westfield District Court dismissed Friday and will answer the complaints in Hampden Superior Court where more rigorous sentencing options are available.

James J. McConkey, 23, of 51 Rachael Terrace had been arrested May 16, 2014, after he allegedly menaced another man with a pistol.

On that day, police report, a Phelps Avenue resident had called police seeking assistance because, she said, a male party came from the apartment above hers and threatened to shoot her visiting boyfriend.

The suspect had left the house before officers arrived but Officer Effrain Luna reports that he observed the described vehicle leaving the area and followed it until additional officer caught up to help with the vehicular stop.

McConkey was stopped on Broadway and told officers that his gun was under his seat.

Luna reports that a 9 mm Smith and Wesson automatic pistol was found with one round chambered and four more in the twelve-shot magazine.

McConkey, who was found to have no firearms identification card, was arrested.

He was arraigned later in the day before Judge Philip A. Contant in Westfield District Court and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition without a FID card, possession of a large capacity firearm and improper storage of a firearm.

Luna reports that, at his arraignment, McConkey acknowledged the incident and said that he had been upset with the victim because the other man had often called police to complain about McConkey’s friends who live in the apartment above his girlfriend’s apartment.

At the hearing, Luna said, the victim testified that he had yelled a demand for quiet to his girlfriend’s neighbors shortly before McConkey appeared at his girlfriend’s door.

Luna testified that McConkey said that he bought the gun while he was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas but subsequently sold it to a friend there. However, McConkey said, he agreed to keep the gun for his friend when the other man was deployed and had no safe place to store the pistol while he was gone.

McConkey faces the possibility of more severe sentencing when his case is heard in superior court.

A district court judge may impose sentences of no more than two and a half years incarceration in a house of correction whereas a superior court judge may impose sentences of as much as life imprisonment in a state prison.

For example, if convicted of the assault with a dangerous weapon charge in district court McConkey could be sentenced to a two and half year term in a house of correction. However, a conviction on the same charge in superior court could send him to state prison for five years.

A hearing date in superior court has not been set.

Media Credit: The Westfield News

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