Federal prosecutors agree that gun charge should be dropped against felon

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Federal charges against a Greensburg man with a lengthy record of drug dealing and violent crimes should be dismissed, according to a prosecutor's motion filed today following a judge's decision early this month to toss out some evidence.

Marcus Davis, 36, was charged last year with possession of a gun by a convicted felon, after he was accused of having in his home a .45-caliber revolver. A grand jury found that he had been convicted of drug dealing in 2000, 2006, 2008 and 2010, and in 1998 of carrying a firearm without a license, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and conspiracy, meaning he cannot possess a gun.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Marketa Sims, though, argued that the search of his home that led to the arrest was tainted, and U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak agreed.

Judge Hornak wrote that Greensburg City Police Detective Jerry Vernail and other officers, acting on an anonymous tip and a confidential informant's account, searched Davis' house. He wrote that Davis was told he was not under arrest and was not read his rights, but was handcuffed anyway.

The judge wrote that Detective Vernail repeatedly changed his account of statements by Davis. "The Court also finds it most noteworthy that while the written inventory of the property seized in the search included, among other things, one (1) Lipton Brisk Iced Tea container and one (1) Dasani Water bottle, it did not include the gun which is at the center of the case," he wrote.

Judge Hornak did not suppress the finding of the gun, but did throw out Davis' alleged self-incriminating statements.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton and assistant U.S. attorney Katherine King wrote in a motion filed today that the Department of Justice has decided not to appeal Judge Hornak's decision and so the indictment should be withdrawn.

Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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