Search for gun questioned

LISBON – Whether or not police had the right to search for the gun in the case of Alexander Brauning came into question during a hearing before Judge Scott Washam in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Wednesday morning.

The 27-year-old Brauning, a journeyman electrician in the gas industry, is accused of opening fire near the Night Court Bar in Lisbon last January.

The Dover man is charged with felonious assault with a firearm specification, carrying a concealed weapon and illegal possession of a firearm in a liquor permit premises. He is accused of discharging a .45-caliber pistol in the direction of Ethan Hood at about 12:30 a.m. Jan. 21 in Lisbon after Brauning was kicked out of Night Court.

Brauning’s supervisor at the Kensington natural gas processing plant, Mecit Bicer, testified Wednesday that on that night he had invited some of the men he supervises over to the apartment he rents on West Washington Street and he cooked them dinner. The men had some beer and steak and he told them if they wanted to stay at his home they could, but if they left to go out they could not come back.

Bicer said he goes to bed between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. because he has to get up early. He also said he had known there to be trouble at the bar and he did not want his men getting into trouble. He did not know if Brauning left or not.

Bicer testified that between 1:45 a.m. and 2 a.m. he heard a noise and found Brauning sleeping on the floor with his pants around his ankles and no pillow or blanket. Bicer said he then turned out the lights, locked the door and went back to bed.

He was then awakened by police who came to his door about 4 or 4:30 a.m.

Lisbon Lt. Fred Carlisle testified when he arrived at Bicer’s home, Brauning was already handcuffed, lying on his side on the floor and had his pants pulled down. He first got permission from Brauning to search his pickup, a F-150 parked out back. Carlisle said he found a round for a gun, but no gun. Back in the apartment Carlisle found the gun under the second chair he looked under.

Carlisle said he, Chief Mike Abraham and members of the county Special Response Team were inside the apartment in the room where Brauning was located.

After the testimony of two Lisbon police officers and Bicer, the attorneys gave their arguments about the search for the gun. Defense attorney Douglas King questioned why police had time to get the SRT together from around the county and secured Brauning in handcuffs which gave them plenty of time to search, but never found time to get a search warrant. King further argued Brauning was an overnight guest in Bicer’s home, which protects his rights to privacy under the Fourth Amendment.

Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble countered with the testimony by Bicer that he told the employees there that night if they went out not to return to his apartment. Gamble said the fact that Bicer left Brauning passed out on the floor of his apartment did not mean he consented to him staying there.

Washam told the parties involved he would take the motion to suppress the evidence under advisement.

Brauning’s case has not yet been set for jury trial after a date in April was continued.