On Friday, October 16, Richard Lee France, 51, of Wilson Township pled guilty to the two most serious charges against him, carrying a dangerous weapon with unlawful intent and assault with a dangerous weapon.
The crimes carry maximum penalties of five and four years in prison, respectively. Lesser charges of use of a firearm in commission of a felony, domestic violence and possession of a firearm while intoxicated were dismissed in exchange for the guilty plea.
The charges arose from an incident on July 27 at France’s home when, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, he allegedly fired an AK-47 assault rifle in the direction of a vehicle in his driveway that was attempting to leave.
Deputies from the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department were assisted on scene by the East Jordan Police Department, Boyne City Police Department, and East Jordan Ambulance.
Officers negotiated with France by telephone and encouraged him to surrender, according to a news release by Sheriff Don Schneider. France ultimately surrendered to police without further incident.
“It appeared briefly that officers may have a standoff situation, but the quick and reasoned response of law enforcement led to a peaceful outcome,” said Telgenhof. “It was a joint effort with the sheriff Don Schneider and undersheriff Chuck Vondra personally on the scene… East Jordan Officer Dan Reece was instrumental in talking to the suspect and encouraging him to surrender.”
At his plea hearing, France that he fired the weapon “to get (his) point across.” France will be sentenced on November 13 in the 33rd Circuit Court.