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Published September 20, 2012, 02:47 PM

Ex-UND Student to Plead Guilty to Firing Gun on Campus

The man charged with firing a handgun on UND’s campus early one July morning has reached a deal with prosecutors to reduce the felony count to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

The man charged with firing a handgun on UND’s campus early one July morning has reached a deal with prosecutors to reduce the felony count to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.

An attorney for Eybon Avyon Watkins, 21, who was a UND student but now is living in Bismarck, said Wednesday in court his client would plead guilty to the reduced charge, as well as to a second misdemeanor count of illegally carrying a handgun during the night in the city.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss two lesser related counts.

Watkin’s attorney, Patrick Rosenquist, said Watkins had waived his right to appear Wednesday.

UND police said in a complaint that they responded around 2 a.m., July 23 to a call of gunshots fired on the north side of the campus. One officer saw Watkins running through a parking lot with a handgun and stopped him. The 9 mm Ruger’s barrel still was warm from being fired, an officer said, and it matched five empty casings found later in a nearby parking lot.

Watkins was living in Noren Hall on campus.

Under terms of the plea deal described in court Wednesday, Watkins would be sentenced to 18 months in jail, deferred during a similar probation period, and serve eight days in jail, less three days already served. He also has to do 50 hours of community service.

Because of a parallel city charge of discharging a weapon expected to be dismissed, Judge Joel Medd set a pre-trial conference for Nov. 8 to finally dispose of both cases against Watkins.

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