Greece woman, convicted in connection with West Webster tragedy, sentenced to maximum

Updated: 05/19/2014 5:58 PM
Created: 05/19/2014 4:54 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

“You cannot put guns in the hands of a criminal” were the words from the judge as he sentenced the only person charged in connection with the West Webster tragedy on Christmas Eve morning in 2012.

Dawn Nguyen was sentenced Monday. The judge gave her the maximum for lying on forms to buy guns used in the tragedy. Nguyen will spend one and a third to four years in prison.  Police say the guns were used to shoot four West Webster firefighters who responded to a fire on Lake Road. Two of them, Michael Chiapperini and Tomasz Kaczowka were killed. Ted Scardino and Joseph Hofstetter were wounded. 

Dawn Nguyen had a chance to talk before she was sentenced, but she chose to say nothing. 

Judge Tom Moran said he wanted to send a message Monday. The message was, “You do not put weapons into the hands of felons.” That’s what Dawn Nguyen did. She was in court Monday in her jail outfit, going to prison because she lied on the forms to buy two guns at Gander Mountain, gave them to William Spengler and got paid a $1,000. 

On Monday, Judge Moran said, “She put into the hands of a man who killed his grandmother, two killing guns. When she took the one thousand dollars, she sold the rest of us out.”

Ted Scardino, who survived the ambush on Christmas Eve morning, was in court for the sentencing.

Ted Scardino said, “His words were spot on. I’m glad that it is finally over, but like I said, nothing is going to bring back those two guys and this is all because she did that for money.”

Since her conviction, one of Nguyen's sisters started an online petition asking for leniency. Her sister wrote that Dawn is a “first time offender, beautiful, educated and an asset to this society.” More than 500 people signed the petition.

Matt Parrinello, defense attorney, said, “I wish I could give you the support letters. But to a T, everybody, and that's from all over the country where we got them from, that she was a caring person, a giving person.”

There was another online petition over Dawn Nguyen, demanding the maximum sentence. 

Tim Prosperi, Second Assistant District Attorney, said, “ I think it has gotten a lot of publicity and I think the message is clear, that we don't want guns in the hands of felons.”

Nguyen has been in jail since her conviction, which was a month ago. She will get credit for that time served. 

Nguyen will be in federal court on Wednesday for a hearing. She’s already been arraigned on a federal charge. The crime is buying a gun for a convicted felon, which is called a straw purchase. She will face much tougher penalties for the federal charge.

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