Despite being acquitted of felony aggravated assault for shooting a fellow bar patron who'd helped assault him, a Conewago Township man must still go to prison.
Eric Dadeboe, 29, of Hunter Creek Drive, was convicted Dec. 13 of reckless endangerment for the June 20, 2011, shooting inside Jamie's Courtside bar at 18 S. Belmont St. in Spring Garden Township.
The offense is a second-degree misdemeanor and often comes with a probationary sentence. But in this case a "deadly weapons enhancement" increased the penalties under the state's sentencing guidelines.
"The essential question ... is what do we do with good people who do bad things?" Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder asked during Monday's sentencing hearing. "And not just bad things, but ... seriously bad criminal things?"
Snyder sentenced Dadeboe to six to 23-1/2 months in county prison and ordered he be eligible for the work-release program so he can support his new wife and their baby daughter. Dadeboe must report to prison March 8 and also must pay $7,769.69 in restitution.
"I don't think any lesser sentence would be appropriate," Snyder said. "Two innocent bystanders could very easily have been killed. Do we overlook that because of the assault by two other patrons? The law says we can't."
'Mistake' made: Defense attorney Chris Ferro described Dadeboe as a kind, gentle man who is quiet and respectful.
"He knew he had made a mistake that night ... (but it) wasn't a thought-out mistake by any means," Ferro told the judge. "I know you will never, ever see him in your courtroom again."
Snyder said he doesn't doubt Dadeboe is a good person.
"But on the night in question, he entered a barroom with a number of patrons in it ... wielding a loaded pistol," Snyder said. "And that pistol was fired twice."
Dadeboe "acted in a way that recklessly endangered a number of innocent bystanders ... who, like him, had simply been minding their own business," the judge said.
What happened: During trial, Ferro and senior deputy prosecutor Seth Bortner agreed Dadeboe was viciously attacked and beaten for no reason inside Jamie's Courtside by two York Township men, Joshua Smeltzer and Corey Potter.
As Smeltzer held Dadeboe, Potter repeatedly punched him, according to testimony. Dadeboe struggled free and ran out of the bar, leaving his date inside.
Moments later, Dadeboe ran back inside the bar holding a gun at his side, which was pointed down.
Ferro said Dadeboe was frightened but knew he had to go back inside for "the woman he loved." Dadeboe legally owns the gun and had a permit to carry it.
Shot in chest: He fired a shot when Potter came toward him, according to Ferro, then fired again when Smeltzer either grabbed him or hit him again. Smeltzer was shot in the upper chest, near his neck.
Bortner maintains Dadeboe returned to the bar with his gun to exact revenge on the men who'd attacked him.
Smeltzer, 33, of Rambo Road, and Potter, 38, of Waterford Drive, remain charged with simple assault and harassment for allegedly attacking Dadeboe. Both have pretrial conferences set later this month.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at email@example.com.