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Convicted felon from Murrysville found guilty of possessing guns

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A convicted felon from Murrysville will likely spend at least five years in prison because he was found guilty Wednesday of possessing guns.

A Westmoreland County jury convicted Michael Signore, 52, of keeping six weapons in a bedroom gun safe, despite being prohibited to do so because he previously was found guilty of a crime.

During the half-day trial before Westmoreland County Judge John Blahovec, Signore maintained the weapons, which included several century-old rifles and a semiautomatic pistol, were not his.

He claimed someone else had peppered his home with gunfire while he was at work.

Two prosecution witnesses testified that on Nov. 14, 2011, sheriff's deputies went to Signore's home to serve him with a protection from abuse order obtained by his former live-in girlfriend.

The deputies were directed to remove any guns Signore had in the home.

During the visit, Signore joked about shooting at his three televisions in the house and suggested the bullet-riddled equipment was evidence that he was a “hell of a shot,” Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro told jurors in an opening statement.

Signore opened a combination lock on the gun safe to open the locker, the prosecutor said.

Signore, the lone defense witness, maintained the guns belonged to his girlfriend and that he never joked about the bullet holes in the walls and in his televisions.

“I said, ‘This is a hell of a shock to me,'” Signore testified.

Signore told jurors he was able to open the gun locker only after seeing the combination written on the PFA order, but when confronted with that document by Ciaramitaro, he could not find any evidence of the combination.

The jury was told that Signore was not permitted to be in possession of firearms because he was convicted in 1995 of an assault charge.

Ciaramitaro said Signore now could receive at mandatory minimum of five years in prison for his conviction. A formal sentencing hearing will be conducted by Blahovec in about three months.

Signore awaits trial on two other unrelated cases involving allegations that he threatened his neighbors and attacked his former girlfriend.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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