WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– A man convicted of causing a gun scare at the University of New Haven was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday.
William Dong faced Judge Frank Ianotti in Milford Superior Court. The judge said he learned long ago to sentence someone only for what they’re charged with and not what he personally thinks they should get. Both sides previously agreed upon Dong’s sentence.
“I think it was a fair and appropriate outcome.” said Dong’s attorney, Fred Paoletti. “I think the state was very measured and protected society and protected my client under all circumstances.”
Dong was sentenced to a mandatory two years behind bars. He’ll receive credit for nearly a year of time he’s already served.
“Level of culpability, based on this case, that was in my opinion the appropriate sentence,” said Prosecutor Kevin Lawlor.
No one was hurt during the scare in December 2013, but the school was forced into lockdown for hours, causing a lot of chaos. He was arrested, found armed with two handguns and an AR 15 Bushmaster with ammunition inside his nearby vehicle. The incident grew more disturbing when investigators tracked Dong’s recent internet searches on his computer.
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“The things he looked at on the internet concerned us,” said Lawlor. “His research on Sandy Hook, research on making his AR-15 operate in an automatic way.”
Dong’s lawyer claims his client was merely trying to protect himself with his arsenal, saying he was fearful not to fall victim to random violence.
“Why did he have those weapons then?” we asked.
“He was lawfully permitted to carry the two handguns, the other gun he always left in his car for target shooting,” said Paoletti.
Dong will serve five years probation after he’s released from prison. He also still faces sentencing on federal charges of illegally transporting the AR-15 across state lines.