Greece woman found guilty in connection with West Webster tragedy

Updated: 04/15/2014 7:12 PM
Created: 04/15/2014 7:02 AM WHEC.com

There was a guilty verdict Tuesday for the woman who bought the guns that were used to kill two firefighters and injure two others in the line of duty. It was a tragedy that began with a reported car fire and ended with three lives lost.

A jury found Dawn Nguyen guilty on a charge of falsifying business records. The jury's decision meant that they felt Nguyen filled out the paperwork to buy the guns used in the West Webster tragedy and intended to give them to the suspected gunman, William Spengler. Police say William Spengler set a fire outside his home on Lake Road in Webster and then used the guns to fire at four West Webster firefighters who responded to calls for that fire. Two firefighters, veteran Mike Chiapperini and 19-year-old Tomasz Kaczowka, were killed. Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter survived the attack. Spengler's sister, Cheryl Spengler, was also killed.

Inside the courtroom, Dawn Nguyen showed no emotion and didn't even flinch when the verdict came down. Her family on the other hand broke down into tears. They have stayed calm throughout the whole trial, but on Tuesday, they couldn't contain their emotions anymore. Nguyen’s sister walked out of court after the verdict came down with her hands in the air and was visibly upset. Other family members and friends of Nguyen could be seen hugging each other and crying in disbelieve. 

Kim Chiapperini, who is the wife of fallen firefighter Mike Chiapperini, was at the trial and heard the verdict. 

Nguyen was convicted of lying on paperwork when buying two guns at Gander Mountain in 2010. The jury believes she really was buying those guns for William Spengler, a convicted felon and the gunman in the West Webster ambush.

Ted Scardino was shot the morning of Christmas Eve 2012. He says while this is a step in the right direction, it is nowhere near justice.

Ted Scardino, injured on Christmas Eve shooting, said, “In my mind, she was a conspirator to this murder. She provided the weapons to the mad man that killed two good guys and unfortunately, the laws today don't provide for a harsher penalty, but hopefully we can work on that and make it stronger. “

John Merklinger, Emergency 911 Center, said, “Maybe this is an area we need to look at, changing the law. If you engage in this kind of behavior that maybe the penalty should be more severe than it currently is, but it is the law and we have to live with that and abide by it.”

John Merklinger worked at the 911 Center with Tomasz Kaczowka, who was killed in the ambush on Christmas Eve in 2012. Tomasz was just 19-years-old and decided to work that day so other firefighters could be home with their families.

Dawn Nguyen is in the Monroe County Jail with no bail.  She will stay there until her sentencing in May because the judge feels she was a flight risk.

Nguyen is looking at a range from prohibition to up to four years in state prison. She also is facing charges in federal court and could be sentenced to more time behind bars if convicted there.

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