Courthouse security guard admits bringing guns into building; jury acquits him
Nathaniel Wisher came to work at the Washington County Courthouse one January morning and brought with him a backpack containing two loaded handguns.
Wisher, 32, was one of the unarmed security guards employed by DePaul Industries to oversee the courthouse entrances. The guards monitor visitors as they pass through metal detectors and scan personal belongings for weapons or other banned items.
But at his trial this week on felony charges of possession of a firearm in a public building and coercion, Wisher said he didn’t know the guns were in his backpack when he entered the building in downtown Hillsboro. He only realized the mistake hours later, he testified.
Jurors in Circuit Judge Suzanne Upton’s courtroom acquitted him Friday on both counts.
Prosecutors argued Wisher acted deliberately Jan. 9 in hopes of impressing a coworker.
“It was a bad attempt at flirtation,” prosecutor John Gerhard told jurors.
Wisher told a coworker in the morning that he had some guns in his backpack, the prosecutor said. Wisher told her he was an uncover cop, Gerhard said, but she didn’t believe him.
At noon, Wisher mentioned the guns again, Gerhard said. And toward the end of the day, he pulled a black pistol out of his bag and showed it to her.
“If you get me in trouble for this, I will send someone to your house to take care of you. I know where you live,” she recalled him saying.
The coworker felt conflicted about reporting the incident because Wisher was her friend, Gerhard said. But she ultimately decided to tell her boss, who reported it to the sheriff’s office.
When a deputy asked Wisher about the guns, the security worker said he’d accidentally brought the weapons into the building.
Defense attorney Ryan Corbridge said his client was in the courthouse with the guns, but the day’s events didn’t happen as authorities described them.
Wisher’s mistake was unintentional, the lawyer said, and the crime of possession of a firearm in a public building requires intention. And the coercion simply didn’t happen, he said.
Wisher had gone target-shooting the day before, Corbridge said. Afterward, he had stored his two handguns in the backpack and forgotten to remove them before entering the courthouse the next day.
Near the end of his shift, Wisher reached into his backpack to take out his phone charger, the lawyer said, and that’s when he noticed the guns, to his surprise.
Corbridge indicated the coworker was lying about Wisher’s statements to her.
The prosecutor said the coworker had no reason to lie and urged jurors to believe her.
“The defendant is telling you an absurd story,” Gerhard said. “It’s unbelievable.”
People who own firearms are likely to know the whereabouts of their weapons, he said. And in Wisher’s case, he said, it was even less probable that he could forget about his guns because he needed them later that day for an after-hours job he had in Portland working as an armed security guard.
DePaul Industries did not immediately confirm Wisher’s employment status Friday. His attorney told jurors “he hasn’t been engaged” with the company since the incident.
Corbridge Law Offices, P.C. – When Experience Matters
Attorneys at Corbridge Law Offices, P.C. help good people through tough situations.
Our office is located at 19075 NW Tanasbourne Drive, Suite 100 in Hillsboro, OR 97124
Corbridge Lawyer Nathan Sosa Named to Board of Hillsboro Schools Foundation
The Hillsboro Schools Foundation named lawyer Nathan Sosa, of Corbridge Law Offices, P.C., to its board. The all-volunteer board directs the foundation in developing innovative programs to improve Hillsboro public schools.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HILLSBORO, Ore., May 21, 2015—Nathan Sosa, an associate attorney with Corbridge Law Offices, P.C. in Hillsboro, has been named the newest member of the Hillsboro Schools Foundation (HSF) Board of Directors. The HSF is a nonprofit organization governed by leaders from Hillsboro’s businesses, schools, and community. The organization raises funds to promote innovative education programs that provide the area’s public schools with a competitive advantage and unleash the creativity of students and teachers.
Over the last 15 years, the Hillsboro Schools Foundation has raised almost $3 million to fund reading enhancement, the purchase of new musical instruments, the arts, exercise programs and gardens. The all-volunteer HSF board is proud to welcome Sosa, who has volunteered as a mentor for underprivileged students. With his commitment to enthusiastically protecting the rights of his community, Sosa is expected to accelerate and expand the role of HFS in the community.
“I’m honored to join the board of the Hillsboro Schools Foundation,” Sosa said. “HSF is a vital force in Hillsboro’s attempts to improve public education for our children.”
Over more than a decade of legal practice, Sosa has developed a reputation for protecting those whose lives have been adversely impacted by the negligence of others. He has handled hundreds of personal injury cases, including those arising from wrongful death, auto accidents and premises liability. Sosa understands, from personal experience, the devastating impact that injuries can have on individuals and their families and friends. This has motivated him to be a relentless advocate on behalf of those who are entitled to compensation.
For more information on Nathan Sosa and Corbridge Law Offices, P.C., please visit the office website at http://www.corbridgelaw.com/, call 503-352-9360 or contact Corbridge Law Offices, P.C., 19075 NW Tanasbourne Drive Suite 100, Hillsboro, OR 97124
Corbridge Law Offices, P.C. guides its clients through the legal system. The firm is distinguished by its attorneys’ willingness to listen to and work with their clients in order to determine their needs and provide the finest in legal representation. The firm has a proven record of resolving personal injury and criminal defense cases on behalf of its clients.