ADVERTISEMENT

A Buffalo man arrested with an unregistered gun ended up pleading guilty last week after prosecutors shot down his claim that he had found the loaded pistol and was planning to turn it over to a clergyman when police stopped him with the weapon.

Anthony Taylor Jr., 21, pleaded guilty as charged to second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana in his arrest Dec. 19, 2012 with the .25-caliber automatic pistol loaded with six bullets.

Taylor initially went to trial on the charges last November in Erie County Court. His aunt testified that he had found the pistol and was planning to give it to the clergyman when police arrested him.

The case ended in a mistrial when the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict; most jurors favored a conviction, according to prosecutors.

After the mistrial, with Taylor facing a retrial May 19, prosecutors located the clergyman who they said debunked the defendant’s story. The clergyman denied in an affidavit that he knew Taylor, prosecutors said.

The minister also said that when Taylor’s aunt asked him after the mistrial to go along with their story about the “found” gun and Taylor’s plans to turn it over to him, he refused, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors said Taylor then tried to pass a letter to a fellow inmate at the Erie County Correctional Facility in an effort to get the inmate to repeat the story at Taylor’s retrial. But authorities intercepted the letter.

Taylor faces a minimum prison sentence of 3½ years and a maximum of 15 years when he is sentenced June 9 by Judge Sheila A. DiTullio, according to District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

email: jstaas@buffnews.com