Negotiations over a plea agreement have been ongoing between prosecutors and the attorney for a Port Ludlow man who is facing 13 felony firearm charges after shooting a neighbor’s dog earlier …
Negotiations over a plea agreement have been ongoing between prosecutors and the attorney for a Port Ludlow man who is facing 13 felony firearm charges after shooting a neighbor’s dog earlier this year.
A quick moment of intrigue in Jefferson County Superior Court Friday has cast a bit of doubt over whether a plea deal will be reached, however.
Ronald Scott Roth was arrested at his Thorndyke Road home in May after he allegedly shot and killed his neighbor’s dog with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Roth, 61, is facing charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, possession of a stolen firearm, first-degree animal cruelty, and making false statements to law enforcement.
Sheriff deputies were dispatched to Thorndyke Road just before 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 22, after a resident claimed Roth, her neighbor, had shot her dog.
After the dog was shot, the woman said Roth got into his truck and drove away. A deputy searched and found the dog, which had died from a gunshot wound in the middle of its chest. But when the deputy went to Roth’s home to talk to him, he was not there.
Deputies returned to his home the next morning and spoke with Roth and Diann Guay Johnston, who was identified as Roth’s wife in court papers.
Johnston immediately told deputies that Roth had not shot the dog and didn’t own any firearms. She claimed a friend named “Sean” had shot the dog, and Roth also blamed Sean for shooting the animal.
Roth also insisted he didn’t own any firearms.
In describing the incident to police, Roth said he and Sean were in the backyard when a dog chased Roth’s dogs into the house.
Roth also said he was in the backyard and didn’t see anything, but Sean had shot the neighbor’s dog with a shotgun after the dog ran around the house and was in the front driveway.
A deputy found a shotgun wad in the driveway, according to court documents.
Deputies soon learned Roth was a convicted felon with his most recent conviction coming from unlawful possession of a firearm.
After getting a search warrant, deputies found
12 firearms in Roth’s home. A dozen had been hidden in a fold-out couch, and the other two were found in a bedroom. Authorities said 10 of the
12 guns were loaded.
The guns confiscated included a stolen .338-caliber Savage rifle, 12-gauge Champion shotgun with a pistol grip, an AR-15 Colt semi-automatic assault rifle, a Russian Mosin-Nagant 7.62x54R military rifle fitted with a bayonet, a .50-caliber Thompson muzzleloader, a .22-caliber Western Auto rifle, a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle, a J.C. Higgins 12-gauge shotgun without a serial number, a .22-caliber Cricket rifle, a Bryco .38-caliber handgun, a 12-gauge New England pump shotgun, and a .177-caliber air rifle.
A search of the car belonging to his wife led to the discovery of several full ammunition crates in the trunk.
When asked again about the shooting, Roth said his dogs had been chased by a stray and he grabbed a bolt-action 12-gauge shotgun, went out the back door, saw the stray dog in the driveway, and shot him with buckshot.
Roth also allegedly admitted owning the guns that were found by police, and said his wife had moved all the weapons the night before and hid them in the couch, and put all the ammo in her trunk so he wouldn’t get in trouble.
Johnston allegedly admitted moving the guns to hide them “in case the cops showed up,” and said she was also a convicted felon.
Roth entered a pleading of “not guilty” at his arraignment in May.
Johnston was charged in May with unlawful possession of a firearm and pleaded “not guilty” at her arraignment.
In Jefferson County Superior Court Friday, attorneys noted that negotiations for a plea agreement had taken place, and the omnibus hearing planned for Sept. 9 was moved to Sept. 30.
At the close of the hearing, Roth abruptly indicated he wanted a new lawyer.
“Your honor, I’d like to seek new counsel,” Roth said.
The issue was not taken up, as his attorney, Lillian Powers, asked him to step outside the courtroom to talk.
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