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Weapon, drug charges dismissed after witness skips preliminary hearing twice

Crime Watch

IDAHO FALLS — Weapon and drug charges were dismissed against an Ammon man, but he was ordered to pay a $541.50 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Robert Lee Hornsby, 26, was arrested on Dec. 27 after he allegedly fired a gun at an apartment complex on the 1500 block of Alice Avenue in Idaho Falls.

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A witness subpoenaed by the prosecutor did not appear at a preliminary hearing, Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney H. Alayne Bean told The hearing was rescheduled, and the witness was again subpoenaed, but again did not show up.

The prosecution went ahead with the preliminary hearing with available evidence, Bean said. Evidence collected included a bullet hole in the apartment complex and spent shell casings and a pistol found in a vehicle being driven by Hornsby.

It was determined by Magistrate Judge Kent Gauchay that the state did not have sufficient evidence to bind Hornsby to the district court following the preliminary hearing.

During a search of Hornsby’s vehicle at the time of the incident, officers from the Idaho Falls Police Department also found a rolled-up $20 bill containing trace amounts of methamphetamine.

Hornsby was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, discharging of a firearm at an occupied building and possession of controlled substance, each a felony. All three were dismissed due to a lack of sufficient evidence.

He was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor to which he pleaded guilty. He was assessed the fine for this charge.

Because charges were dismissed at the preliminary hearing, the prosecutor’s office is free to re-file the felony weapons charges against Hornsby should it secure witness testimony, Bean said.

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