Eric Dadeboe is relieved, according to defense attorney Chris Ferro.
About 1:30 p.m. Thursday, jurors acquitted the 29-year-old man of aggravated assault, but convicted him of reckless endangerment for shooting a man inside a Spring Garden Township bar on June 20, 2011.
"This has been a stressful year (for Dadeboe), with a very serious felony charge hanging over his head," Ferro said.
Had the jury found him guilty of aggravated assault, he would have been facing significant prison time, the attorney said.
Dadeboe, of Hunter Creek Drive in Conewago Township, could be sentenced to probation for the second-degree misdemeanor of reckless endangerment, and faces a maximum prison sentence of about six months.
Probation possible: Ferro said he'll ask for probation, "because I think that's a fair and reasonable sentence."
Senior deputy prosecutor Seth Bortner said he's still considering what sentence he'll ask a judge to impose.
During trial, Ferro and Bortner agreed Dadeboe was viciously attacked and beaten for no reason inside Jamie's Courtside bar, 18 S. Belmont St., by two York Township men, Joshua Smeltzer and Corey Potter.
As Smeltzer held Dadeboe, Potter repeatedly punched him, according to testimony. Dadeboe was able to struggle free and ran out of the bar, leaving his date inside.
Gun in hand: Moments later, Dadeboe ran back inside the bar, holding a gun at his side, which was pointed down.
Ferro told jurors 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.
He fired a shot when Potter came toward him again, 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.
Revenge? But Bortner told jurors Dadeboe didn't come back in for his date, because he walked right past her as he ran back in the bar.
"He went back into that barroom for one reason," the prosecutor said. "It was to get revenge."
Bortner said there was no evidence to show Smeltzer and Potter targeted Dadeboe because of his race or heavy accent. Rather, he said, it appears the two men were simply looking to start trouble with anyone.
Smeltzer, 33, of Rambo Road, and Potter, 38, of Waterford Drive, remain charged with simple assault and harassment for attacking Dadeboe.
Remorse: Smeltzer declined comment about the verdict as he left the courtroom Thursday. After walking past reporters, he stopped, turned around and made one statement:
"I express my remorse toward Eric," he said.
"I believe (Smeltzer's statement) was genuine, and Eric does accept that apology," Ferro said. "A lot of mistakes were made that night and I think everyone wishes they could go back and rewrite that night."
Dadeboe's sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Feb. 11.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.