Bernardsville resident Samuel Medway, convicted earlier this year of charges related to possessing and selling an illegally owned Uzi weapon to an undercover agent in 2011, was sentenced on Friday morning to six years in state prison.
Medway stood quietly during the sentencing in a Somerville courtroom, with a state public defender by his side, while state Superior Court Judge Julie M. Marino read — and rejected — his requests for reasons why the court should consider mitigating factors in setting his sentence.
Samuel J. Medway, 44, had been in July found guilty by a Somerset County jury of second-degree unlawful possession of an assault rifle, third-degree unlawful sale of an assault rifle, fourth-degree violation of the regulatory provisions related to firearms and fourth-degree forgery.
In her sentencing remarks on Friday, the judge particularly opposed the point of view that selling an Uzi to an undercover agent, particularly since the weapon was accompanied by back-dated documentation to predate a state ban on automatic weapons, did not result in any violence.
"To say there was no immediate violence was to completely miss the point," Marino told Medway during the open court session.
Pointing to the use of such weapons in public forums in the past several months in a Colorado movie theater, New York and elsewhere, Marino said there is a reason for New Jersey's gun laws, which she said Medway had "flouted."
She said the sale of the weapon — which Medway was not authorized to possess — to the sale of an agent who did not show any documentation that he was legally entitled to own a gun — "opens the door to heavens knows what."
Marino said there is a reason for laws to prevent people who are not authorized to possess a weapon from having those weapons.
"When you go around those laws, you put everyone at risk — everyone," the judge said.
The judge sentenced Medway to a six year sentence, with additional time on numerous charges that she said could be served concurrently with the six-year sentence.
Medway will not be eligible for parole for at least three years, Stuart White, Medway's public defender, and Somerset County assistant prosecutor in the case, W. Brian Stack, said following the sentence.
Marino said Medway will receive credit for 138 days already served in jail.
White said following the sentence that he does not know if Medway is considering an appeal.
Disorderly persons charge in Bernardsville municipal court reportedly still pending
Stack said that a municipal charge in Bernardville is still pending from an incident in which a SWAT team gathered in June this year outside Medway's Anderson Hill Road home in Bernardsville after Medway allegedly refused to open the door to be served with charges regarding failure to pay child support.
Before the sentencing, Marino read a list of reasons submitted to the court for why mitigating circumstances should be considered in setting jail time for Medway.
Medway, who according to that information had lived in Bernardsville for two years after moving from Basking Ridge, reportedly cares for a disabled sister, and holds a real estate license as well as a degree in international business and finance from Fairleigh Dickenson University, according to the information read by the judge. He told the court he has not ever been convicted before of an indictable offense.
Marino said she had encountered Medway before in family court, and had heard reasons why he supposedly court not pay child support for his two children. She said she could not accept a reason that he had tried to sell the Uzi to raise money for child support.
The judge said an aggravating factor in setting the sentence is the possibility that Medway might again commit an offense.
Later in the afternoon, Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano announced Marino's six year sentence, with a three-year period of parole ineligibility, were based on his July 17 conviction for unlawful possession of an assault rifle, second degree, unlawful sale of an assault rifle, third degree, unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition magazine, fourth degree, violation of the regulatory provisions relating to firearms, fourth degree, and forgery, fourth degree. State law requires a minimum three-year sentence for the sale charge, Stack said.
Last summer, jurors had deliberated for three hours following a seven-day trial before Judge Marino in Somerville, according to information from the prosecutor released in July.
Following his conviction, the Somerset County Prosecutor's office said Medway was facing up to 10 years in prison with a mandatory-minimum of three years before being eligible for parole, the prosecutor's office said.
Medway's bail was revoked and he was lodged in the Somerset County Jail.
In June 2011, Medway sold an Uzi Mini Carbine semi-automatic assault rifle and 14 "large capacity ammunition magazines" with a total ammunition capacity of 409 rounds to an undercover agent.
On Friday afternoon, Soriano said the defendant’s conviction stems from an investigation conducted by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force, with the assistance of the Bernards Township and Bernardsville Borough police departments. In June, 2011, detectives learned that defendant Medway possessed and was interested in selling an Uzi assault rifle. Thereafter, on June 28, 2011, an undercover detective from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office met with defendant at his Anderson Hill Road residence in Bernardsville.
There, authorities said, Medway led the undercover detective to a studio-outbuilding behind his residence where the undercover detective negotiated the purchase of an Uzi Mini Carbine semi-automatic assault rifle and ammunition from Medway in exchange for $1,500. During the sale, Medway presented the detective with a “bill of sale” that the defendant back-dated to June, 2000, the prosecutor's office said.
Shortly after the sale, police arrested the defendant and found him to be in possession of the currency used to purchase the Uzi assault rifle, according to the prosecutor's office. Police searched the defendant’s vehicle, residence and the studio-outbuilding and inside the studio-outbuilding, found the fraudulent “bill of sale,” a duplicate New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card belonging to defendant and two Mossberg shotguns, the prosecutor said.
In 2007, Medway's New Jersey Firearms Purchaser Identification Card, firearms and right to legally possess firearms had been revoked by Court Order — a circumstance to which Marino referred in court on Friday morning.
Authorities at the scene in the SWAT incident said there were no injuries resulting from the Bernardsville standoff, although there was uncertainty at the time of the incident whether Medway was armed.
Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano said that incident began when officers from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve a failure to pay child support warrant in the amount of $93,432.01 for Medway on June 7 at about 6:45 p.m.