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DA drops probationer's 164 charges for firearms

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By Margaret Harding
Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Penn Hills man no longer has to fight more than 160 illegal firearms charges, but he said it is a hollow victory.

“I didn't do anything wrong,” Charles Rullo, 54, said on Thursday, the day after the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office chose not to prosecute him. “I lose a whole year out of my life, easy.”

Rullo was on probation when authorities filed the gun charges in March. He had pleaded guilty on Feb. 6 to charges stemming from a bar fight. Possessing firearms, which he acquired before the plea, violated his probation, but his attorney argued that state law allowed him up to 60 days to relinquish the weapons.

Allegheny County police charged Rullo with 164 counts of illegally possessing a firearm, possessing a firearm with an obliterated manufacturer's number and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon after county probation officers and Penn Hills police removed the guns from his home on March 1.

A judge granted attorney Michael Foglia's motion to suppress evidence against Rullo because he was not given a fair opportunity to get rid of his weapons after he went on probation. Based on that decision, prosecutors chose not to move forward, said Mike Manko, spokesman for the district attorney's office.

The weapons recovered will be destroyed, Manko said.

Rullo said he was in jail for more than 60 days and lost his real estate license as a result of the case. He said he's looking into a civil rights lawsuit against authorities.

“It's one of those situations where you feel like you haven't won anything,” he said.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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