OK

For those who missed it, federal and state investigators in New York traced two of the guns William Spengler used in his Christmas Eve rampage near Rochester to Dawn Nguyen, a former neighbor of his.  According to the timeline pieced together by federal prosecutors in the criminal complaint against Nguyen, she bought the Bushmaster and the shotgun Spengler used back in 2010 at a Rochester-area Gander Mountain.  She bought them for Spengler, but listed herself as the owner because Spengler was a convicted felon barred from even possessing a firearm.  For those who don't know, Spengler pleaded no contest in 1981 to beating his grandmother to death, and served 17 years of a 25-year sentence for manslaughter.  Nguyen's currently facing federal and state charges for lying on the form she filled out when she bought the guns.  But I'm left wondering why she isn't also facing state charges of murder and attempted murder.

It seems pretty clear-cut to my non-lawyer's mind.  If Spengler was allowed to get the guns based on Nguyen's lies, then that makes Nguyen an accessory to the murders of of two firefighters and attempted murders of two others.  I have to wonder if the only reason she hasn't been brought up on murder charges yet is that prosecutors are looking for more evidence.  According to the federal complaint, Nguyen texted a Monroe County sheriff's deputy and admitted she'd bought the guns in an illegal straw purchase.  That's pretty compelling evidence by itself, but I wonder if prosecutors are looking for more considering she could and should spend the rest of her life in prison if tried and convicted for the murders.  For something with stakes this high, you'd want to make sure a case like this is absolutely ironclad.

If the evidence is there, though, Nguyen should be brought up on charges of murder, attempted murder and/or being an accessory to murder.  Based on what we know, in part due to her actions almost three years ago two firefighters are dead and eight families got burned out of their homes.  You really can't be too heavy-handed in circumstances like these.  Plus, the signal must go out--if you make it possible for a convicted felon to get a gun and somebody gets hurt or killed, you're going to pay and pay through the nose.

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