Prison ordered for man who brandished handgun on Eastern Avenue

By Ashley Bunton -

A man who brandished a handgun on Eastern Avenue in Washington C.H. and pointed it at another man was sentenced Monday to two years and three months in prison.

Michael L. Stolzenburg, 31, of Linden Avenue, appeared in the Fayette County Court of Common Pleas with defense attorney Thomas J.C. Arrington and plead guilty to charges of having a weapon under disability, a third-degree felony, and theft, a fifth-degree felony.

Other charges against Stolzenburg for improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle and aggravated menacing were dismissed by the state in an agreed sentence.

Stolzenburg pointed a handgun at a man in the 600 block of Eastern Avenue July 11 and then departed the residence in a maroon van with two other individuals.

Reports said Jonathan Sever, a Washington Police Department investigator, was patrolling the area in an unmarked vehicle. Sever had noticed the maroon van driving slowly through the Eastern Avenue area and was able to identify the occupants inside the van. At this time, dispatch informed officers of receiving a complaint that Stolzenburg had just pointed a handgun at someone on Eastern Avenue. Reports said Sever exited his vehicle and approached the van in the middle of the roadway and asked all three occupants to put their hands where he could see them.

Upon exiting the vehicle, a loaded magazine was located on the floorboard near Stolzenburg. A loaded Ruger .22 was located in plain view in the basket area between the front passenger and driver seats. Stolzenburg was found to have a hypodermic needle in his front pocket.

One of the other passengers in the van told police the handgun belonged to Stolzenburg and that he and another man had pointed weapons at each other in an Eastern Avenue apartment, reports said.

Stolzenburg was charged with having weapons under disability, a third-degree felony; improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor; possession of drug abuse instruments, a first-degree misdemeanor; and obstructing official business, a second-degree misdemeanor, and was booked into the Fayette County Jail.

During his sentencing hearing Monday, he received a sentence of one-and-a-half years in prison for the firearm charge.

According to court records, Stolzenburg had a prior felony conviction in 2009 for aggravated robbery, making him disabled from having a handgun.

Stolzenburg told Judge Steven Beathard during the hearing that he was going to trade the gun for drugs and that he wasn’t trying to shoot anybody.

“You can’t be around a gun,” said Beathard. “You can’t be in a house with a gun, you can’t be in a car with a gun. You can’t be around guns period.”

In a second case for theft, Stolzenburg received a nine-month prison sentence for stealing a purse May 26 with credit cards and checks.

His two-years-and-three-month prison sentence was credited with 62 days of local jail time already served.

By Ashley Bunton

Reach Ashley by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching for @ashbunton

Reach Ashley by calling her at (740) 313-0355 or by searching for @ashbunton