Created: 12/12/2014 11:22 AM
By: By LISA CORNWELL
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A former Veterans Affairs worker who pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon in a VA hospital shooting that wounded an employee in the ankle was sentenced Friday to 5 1/2 years in prison.
Neil Moore, 59, of Trotwood, will get credit for time served. He had pleaded in September to the one count in an agreement with prosecutors. They dropped a count of use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a violent crime.
Moore entered a break room at the Dayton VA Medical Center on May 5 and pointed a gun at several employees, one of whom was shot in a scuffle, authorities said. Moore pointed the revolver at another person before fleeing, according to court documents.
The injured man asked the judge in Dayton federal court on Friday to be lenient and said he didn't think Moore meant to hurt him.
Prosecutor Dwight Keller had called the agreement recommending 5 1/2 years in prison a fair compromise for all. The count carries a possible maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
The judge did not order a fine, but said Moore would have to make restitution to the victim. The amount is still to be determined.
Moore was ruled mentally competent to stand trial, but defense attorney Frank Malocu has said that Moore has an extensive history of mental illness. The illness and lack of medication for over two years affected Moore's thinking and behavior, Malocu said.
Moore was diagnosed with schizophrenia in the Marines in 1977, Malocu said.
Moore told police he regularly participated in a card game with co-workers when he worked at the hospital. Authorities said he went back intending to brandish the handgun to intimidate former co-workers while also punching them, according to court documents.
Authorities said a game participant lunged at Moore, knocking his .38-caliber revolver. Investigators said the gun went off, striking a housekeeping aide.
Moore is remorseful and realizes that he "cannot self-medicate with alcohol," Malocu said in a court filing.
(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)