Man pleads not guilty to firing gun at brother

Published 9:26 am Tuesday, June 4, 2013

A Texas man has pleaded not guilty to allegations of firing a handgun toward his brother in April in Albert Lea.

Samuel Vallejo, 41, Harker Heights, Texas, entered the plea Monday in Freeborn County District Court to one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, a felony, and one count of recklessly handling or using a dangerous weapon, a misdemeanor.

Samuel Vallejo

Samuel Vallejo

Vallejo’s public defender, Stephen Erickson, invoked his client’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial.

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Erickson said it is likely a plea agreement will be reached in the case in the next two weeks. In the meantime, his client entered the plea to keep the case moving forward.

Court documents state Vallejo was in town April 28 on a family matter.

He and and his brother were reportedly sitting in a Chevy Silverado pickup parked in front of 802 Valley Ave. just before 11:30 p.m. when they began arguing. The brother told police he was looking ahead out of the truck when, without warning, a loud gunshot went off, breaking a window and just missing him.

The brother said Vallejo had been “fumbling around” with a .380-caliber pistol prior to the shooting and said Vallejo had been saying to him that he needed to stop telling him what to do, according to court files.

When officers arrived, Vallejo reportedly said on several occasions that “it was his fault and that he had screwed up,” reports stated.

In an interview with a police detective, Vallejo allegedly acknowledged shooting the gun and said it was likely he had consumed a six pack of Bud Light beer prior to the argument.

He is being held in the Freeborn County jail on a $75,000 unconditional bail or $25,000 with conditions.

Second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon carries a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. The reckless charge carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.