Angels man will face gun charges

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

An Angels Camp man must stand trial on felony weapons charges in Calaveras County Superior Court.

Judge Glenn Ritchey, visiting from Stanislaus County, yesterday ruled that evidence presented at Richard Wilmshurst's preliminary hearing shows there is probable cause that he committed the crimes.

Wilmshurst, a federally licensed gun importer and the owner of 49er Subaru in Angels Camp, faces 10 felony counts of possessing assault weapons.

He will be arraigned at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 10. Unless he pleads guilty, he will go to trial.

Thomas Marovich, Wilmshurst's Sonora attorney, said he might file a motion to reduce the 10 counts to misdemeanors.

Until his preliminary hearing began last week, Wilmshurst had faced three counts of possessing an assault weapon and seven counts of unlawful assault-weapon activity. But the charges were changed to 10 counts of possession because unlawful assault-weapon activity would only apply if he had sold the guns in California.

Before Wilmshurst's preliminary hearing resumed yesterday, Marovich filed an 11-page motion to have the case dismissed. It argued that federal law allows his client to have guns that are illegal by state standards.

However, Ritchey wouldn't rule on the motion because it had not been filed 10 days in advance.

After the hearing, Wilmshurst said he was upset because of the judge's decision, and also because he wasn't allowed to speak in his own defense.

Last week Ritchey told Wilmshurst he wanted "to see a case" that proved his points. Wilmshurst said his motion did what the judge asked.

"I'm surprised he didn't do what he promised we could do, which is argue the federal issue," Wilmshurst said.

In another setback for the defense, Ritchey yesterday denied an earlier motion to void a February search warrant used by state officials to find the weapons at his Angels Camp home.

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