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Jury says local man tampered with gun evidence

February 14, 2008
By Brad Bauer,
A jury decided Wednesday that Steven Frazier did not fire his gun at anyone last June at Haught Run Campground, but they said he did help hide another gun involved in the shooting of a New Matamoras man.

It means Frazier, 26, of 455 Wilson Drive, Lowell, is left facing between one and five years in prison on the third-degree felony complicity in tampering with evidence conviction.

Frazier had faced up to 13 years after he was accused of firing a .12-gauge shotgun at Larry “Buck” Ridgeway Jr., 30, of New Matamoras, and later hiding evidence.

The incident began over the amount of noise Ridgeway and a group of his friends were making while riding four-wheelers late at night near the Haught Run Campground, near Wingett Run, where the Fraziers were camping.

Ridgeway testified Tuesday that Steven Frazier and his father, Gary Frazier, went to confront his group with guns.

Ridgeway said he punched Steven Frazier in the face because the man had a gun pointed at his uncle. He said when Steven Frazier fell the shotgun he was holding went off, but it didn’t harm anyone.

“As I turned back, I made eye contact with the older gentleman, Gary Frazier, and he shot me in the abdomen,” Ridgeway said.

Ridgeway said he staggered back to his four-wheeler and fell behind it. At that point, he said Steven Frazier fired a second round at him, striking the four-wheeler and slightly injuring his foot.

That alleged second shot is what accounted for the second-degree felonious assault charge.

But jurors were faced with sorting through several differing accounts of the shooting — and the fact that the victim was highly intoxicated and high on marijuana.

Steven Frazier took the stand and maintained he only fired one shot, which was the result of an accidental discharge.

“As soon as I looked back over, I got hit,” Steven Frazier said in testimony. “I fell and I remember hearing a boom. I jumped up, cocked my gun, but never fired any more shots.”

After the shooting, Frazier said he and his father left the campground and drove toward Marietta. Nervous about the shooting, he said they discussed finding somewhere to put their guns before they went to the police.

Those talks and leaving the elder Frazier’s gun at the Washington County Fairgrounds led to the third-degree felony tampering conviction.

Steven Frazier remains free on bond while awaiting a March 19 sentencing in Judge Susan Boyer’s courtroom.

It took the jury of six men and six women about five hours to reach a verdict Wednesday. The trial began Monday and included 17 witnesses.


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