SILVER CREEK -- The first person charged in the state gun laws appeared in a packed courtoom here this morning to hear the charges brought against him by the state Attorney General.
Benjamin M. Wassell, 32, of Silver Creek appeared in Hanover Town Court for a brief session that will resume 2 p.m. April 17 for continuation of his arraignment.
The routine court appearance was overshadowed by the large crowd in the coutroom, apparently in support of Wassell, who is accused of selling to assault rifles to an undercover state trooper.
Town Justice Walter Kyczek cautioned the audience that it was “not a town board meeting” and they would not be allowed to speak.
The court room was filled to capacity with onlookers spilling out into the hallways of the Hanover Town Hall. Clothing identified some members of the crowd as members of the NRA.
The case brings notoriety to this small town where many people know the defendant.
Wassell was represented by attorney Michael S. Deal of Lipsitz, Green, Scime and Cambria of Buffalo.
Wassell was arrested last Thursday on three felony and one misdemeanor count. He was released on his own recognizance.
Assistant Attorney General Paul McCarthy will represent the state in the case. He was present at the appearance today and agreed to return for April 17.
It is likely that the case will be moved to Chautauqua County Court for further action at the next appearance, sources told The News.