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A South Carolina man will spend up to 44 years in prison for opening fire on a Lancaster city street at his brother’s funeral.
Lovelle Weaver was convicted of aggravated assault and numerous other charges for shooting at a fleeing male outside Jared Weaver’s funeral at Bethel AME Church on East Strawberry Street on Oct. 7, 2015.
On Monday in Lancaster County Court, Judge Margaret Miller ordered Lovelle Weaver serve 18 to 44 years in prison.
“People don’t bring guns to funerals. People bring tears to funerals,” Judge Miller said while ordering sentence. “A lot of people were put in danger that day.”
Assistant District Attorney Mark Fetterman, who won the trial conviction, called Weaver a “violent and dangerous individual.”
“Make no mistake about it,” Fetterman said, pointing to Weaver’s criminal history which includes an assault on a police officer that made it illegal for Weaver to have a firearm.
At trial in December, Fetterman showed jurors a video recording of the incident that showed Weaver’s intended target running away as Weaver fired five shots. A woman and her young children ducked for cover as Weaver fired shots.
“(The intended target) was running down that street. He never displayed a weapon,” Fetterman said.
Judge Miller said: “I still have a hard time believing, even after seeing the video, that someone would do what you did.”
In court, Weaver called himself a “family man” who was “just trying to protect my family.”
The shots were fired after a verbal dispute involving other individuals.
“I might not have made the right decision,” Weaver said, “but I just tried to protect my family.”
Judge Miller said Weaver brought the gun likely expecting to use it.
She called the shooting a “desecration of the memory of a shooting victim (Jared Weaver) at that funeral.”
In all, Weaver was convicted of felony aggravated assault, illegal possession of a firearm, possessing a firearm without a license, and misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment (five counts) and discharge of a firearm into an occupied structure (home).
Lancaster city police Detective Eric McCrady filed charges.
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright