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Man sentenced in '05 shooting; Last of 3 defendants gets 82 days.

Byline: Anna L. Griffin

LEOMINSTER - The last of three defendants implicated in an August 2005 shooting was found guilty in Leominster District Court on an amended charge of larceny from a person.

Brandon Aho, 23, of 40 Crawford St. was charged with assault with intent to murder, armed robbery and carrying a firearm without a firearms license.

Mr. Aho allegedly fled the scene of a shooting in front of 395 Mechanic St., shortly after midnight Aug. 4, 2005. The victim, Jesus Morales, 30, of Pearl Street, was shot in the neck.

In court Friday, the assault and firearms charges were dismissed at the request of the commonwealth. The armed robbery charge was amended to larceny from a person. Mr. Aho admitted sufficient facts for a guilty finding on that charge and was found guilty by Judge John J. Curran Jr. He was sentenced to 82 days in the House of Correction, with credit for time served.

Marquis Hall, 21, and Ryan M. Hehir, 20, both of Fitchburg, were arrested two days later at an apartment on Milk Street in Fitchburg. Mr. Hall told police that Mr. Aho, Mr. Hehir and he had conspired to rob a drug dealer after leading him to believe they wanted to make a transaction.

Mr. Morales and an acquaintance had been repairing a friend's pool at 395 Mechanic St. when he walked from the backyard to the front of the house about 12:45 a.m. Aug. 4, 2005. A car pulled up a few moments later and a scuffle ensued, during which Mr. Morales was shot in the neck. The car sped away.

Mr. Morales told police in 2005 that Mr. Hall was the man who had shot him.

The investigation led police to the Fitchburg apartment two days later, where Mr. Hehir and Mr. Hall were arrested on charges of assault with intent to murder and carrying a firearm without a license.

Mr. Hall told police that he saw Mr. Aho carrying a gun moments before the shot rang out.

In October 2006, Mr. Hall was sentenced to one year and two months to three years in Walpole State Prison, after being found guilty in a jury-waived trial of unarmed assault with intent to rob. The charge was amended from armed assault with intent to rob. He was found not guilty on charges of armed assault with intent to murder, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

The charges against Mr. Hehir were dismissed in October 2005 in Leominster District Court after Judge John J. Curran Jr. struck testimony presented by prosecutors as hearsay. Without that testimony, there was no probable cause to continue the case against Mr. Hehir, the judge ruled.

Mr. Aho had been at large for two years, but was found in late August by another law enforcement agency. He was arraigned in Leominster District Court Aug. 27 on the charges, more than two years after the shooting occurred.
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Title Annotation:LOCAL NEWS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Nov 18, 2007
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