SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 15, 2013

Attorney gets a year in jail in road-rage incident

Connors convicted of pulling gun in parking lot

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — A Lynn attorney has been sentenced to a year in jail after a jury found him guilty Tuesday of pulling a handgun on another driver in the parking lot of the Liberty Tree Mall last year.

Richard Connors, 61, who lives in Lynn and has an office in Wyoma Square, was found guilty of one count of assault with a dangerous weapon, the Kahr 9 mm handgun he pointed at a Beverly man during a dispute over a parking space behind the mall on Veterans Day 2012.

A second count of assault with a dangerous weapon, a can of mace, was thrown out by a judge prior to the jury’s deliberations.

The encounter started when the victim, a 30-year-old man, saw a woman walking toward her car and waited for her space. He admitted that he was growing impatient with the time it was taking for her to back out.

As he and the woman — later identified as Connors’ wife — exchanged words, Connors got out of the passenger side of the BMW and walked up to the victim’s car. As the victim tried to open his door to get out, Connors pushed the door closed and pointed a gun at him, he told police.

The driver also told police he believed he saw a can of mace.

The victim dialed 911 and got the license plate of the BMW, which drove away.

Later, police called Connors’ wife, the registered owner of the BMW, who said the man yelled at her and seemed “aggravated.” When police pressed her for details, she asked the officer on the phone to hold, then came back on the line and said she was busy making dinner and couldn’t talk.

Police showed the victim photos of a series of bald, middle-aged men in a photo array identification procedure. According to the police report, the victim quickly picked out Connors, describing him as having “an angry-type face.”

Connors was the registered owner of a handgun that fit the description given by the victim, and when police learned that Connors sold the gun earlier this year, they were able to retrieve it from the buyer and use it as evidence during the trial.

Connors and his attorney had argued that the victim, who has a criminal record, was the aggressor.

Jurors deliberated for about two hours on Tuesday afternoon before returning a verdict shortly before 5 p.m.

Judge Allen Swan imposed the one-year jail term and ordered Connors into custody immediately after the verdict, a move that apparently caught Connors by surprise. He had driven to court alone on Tuesday.

Connors will be eligible for parole after serving half of the sentence.

He is expected to also face disciplinary action by the state Board of Bar Overseers.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.