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Entries in Governor Chris Christie (1)

Tuesday
Dec212010

Man Spared 7 Years in Prison for Guns Legally Owned

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TRENTON, N.J.) -- A New Jersey man serving seven years in prison for possessing two legally-owned guns, disassembled and in the trunk of his car while moving residences, has had his sentence commuted.

Brian Aitken, 25, a media consultant, had been in the process of selling his home in Colorado and moving to a suburban New Jersey apartment to be closer to his son, 2, when he was arrested in a bizarre sequence of events.

Aitken's ordeal began on Jan. 3, 2009, when he confided in his mother during a moment of emotional distress at home that life wasn't worth living. He stormed out of his parent's suburban home, hopped into his car filled with belongings and drove off.

Brian's mother, a social worker trained to be sensitive to suicidal indicators, instinctively dialed 911 but abruptly hung up, second-guessing her reaction. But police tracked the call, came to the home and greeted Brian when he returned to make sure he was okay. When they searched his car police found two handguns "unloaded, disassembled, cleaned and wrapped in a cloth," his father said.

Aitken had legally purchased the guns at a Denver sporting goods store two years earlier, he said.

But transporting a gun without a special permit or in a handful of exempt situations is illegal in New Jersey, giving officers no choice but to arrest Aitken and charge him with a crime.

After a two-and-a-half day trial in August, a jury convicted Aitken of the charges and a judge sentenced him to seven years in prison.

Gov. Chris Christie signed an order Monday night that commuted Aitken's sentence to time served.

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