Man pleads guilty to intentional discharge of firearm in Gordonsville incident

Published 3:43 pm Thursday, March 31, 2022

A rural Glenville man charged with firing a rifle and injuring a man who attempted to steal his pickup in September near Gordonsville pleaded guilty on Thursday in the case.

James Vinton

James Joseph Vinton, 39, pleaded guilty to intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers the safety of another, a felony, as part of a plea agreement with the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office. A second charge of felony second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon is expected to be dismissed.

The plea agreement calls for a stay of imposition and supervised probation for three years. While he’s on probation, Vinton would not be able to use or possess firearms, ammunition or weapons and can have no contact with the victim. 

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Court documents stated deputies were dispatched Sept. 26 to 11859 800th Ave. in Freeborn County after receiving a call from a woman that someone had stolen a blue Chevy pickup and that her husband had shot a gun into the air.

When a deputy arrived, the pickup was in the ditch and hung up on a fence, and other men were standing in the road. The person who had attempted to take the truck was sitting on the ground near the driver’s side of the vehicle and said he couldn’t stand or move the right side of his body. He had two puncture wounds to the top of his back and was ultimately taken to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, where he was expected to make a full recovery.

Vinton told authorities he fired one shot over the pickup and said he figured it was kids trying to take the truck and was hoping to scare them. He fired a second shot a little while later, stating he shot at the rear driver’s tire to get the vehicle to stop.

Vinton is slated to be sentenced June 13. 

The man who was injured, Andre Tyree Williams, of Harcourt, Iowa, faces charges of felony theft and criminal damage to property.

He is scheduled for a jury trial Aug. 2.