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Posted: 12:09 PM- The gun dealer accused of selling Trolley Square killer Sulejman Talovic the shotgun used in the attack has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge. In exchange, prosecutors will drop a felony count, his attorney said Tuesday.
Westley Wayne Hill, a 39-year-old salesman at a West Valley City pawn shop, will plead guilty to a misdemeanor count of failing to maintain records, and prosecutors will drop a felony count of selling a firearm to an unauthorized person, defense attorney Earl Xaiz said.
Hill sold the 12-gauge, pistol-grip shotgun Talovic, 18, used in the Feb. 12 attack that killed five people and wounded four others. Hill was scheduled to go to trial on Monday, but his attorney instead requested a change-of-plea hearing, now scheduled for Monday.
The plea deal came as U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball was considering a motion to dismiss the felony count. Xaiz had argued the sale was legal because federal law allows the sale of shotguns to 18 year olds.
"A shotgun is a shotgun," Xaiz said Tuesday.
But prosecutors argued that because the gun had a pistol grip, the buyer had to be at least 21 years old.
Hill has admitted to failing to check a box on a form to indicate he saw two forms of identification, Xaiz said. Federal law requires gun dealers to see two forms of identification for buyers who are not naturalized citizens, he said. Talovic came to the U.S. as a refugee from war-torn Bosnia. Hill could not remember if he asked Talovic for a second identification card, Xaiz said.
Three other men have taken plea deals in connection with supplying Talovic with the handgun he used in the attack:
-- On Nov. 5, Matthew Hautala, 21, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor aiding and abetting the unlawful transfer of a firearm to a juvenile and received a year probation. Prosecutors originally charged him with lying to investigators while they tracked the chain of custody of the handgun Talovic used in the attack.
-- On Nov. 1, Mackenzie Glade Hunter, 20, pleaded guilty to felony possession of a gun while using drugs and a reduced misdemeanor count of transferring a gun to a minor. Hunter arranged the sale of the handgun to Talovic, who was 17 when he bought the gun. He is scheduled for sentencing Jan. 14.
-- On Oct. 25, Brenden Taylor Brown, 21, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of selling a handgun to a minor and received a year probation. Prosecutors dropped a felony charge of lying to federal agents.