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Nguyen Pleads Not Guilty In Federal Court

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Rochester: Nguyen Pleads Not Guilty In Federal Court
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The woman accused of illegally providing guns used in the fatal Christmas Eve shooting in West Webster, pleaded not guilty in federal court Monday morning.

If Dawn Nguyen, 24, is convicted of the three counts she's facing, she could spend decades behind bars.

Nguyen is accused of buying a semi-automatic rifle and a shotgun in June of 2010. Federal prosecutors say she knowingly made false statements when buying those guns and then sold them to William Spengler, a known convicted felon. Prosecutors say she also was in possession of the guns while she was illegally using marijuana.

Those guns were used in the Christmas Eve shootings that killed West Webster firefighters Mike Chiapperini and Tomacz Kaczowka. Firefighters Ted Scardino and Joe Hofstetter were also injured.

Prosecutors said that Nguyen made statements to New York State Police investigators that she bought the guns, and that those guns were later stolen.

"She bought the guns. The question going forward is are they going to be able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt," said defense attorney Matt Parrinello. "Did it happen the way the public thinks it happened? It did not, definitely. What they accused her of, she's not guilty of."

Parrinello said he is considering filing a motion to request a change of venue for the trial.

"We'll have to do our research and see if it's appropriate but I would probably say and I think everyone would agree, it would be very difficult to get a fair trial here."

In court Monday, members of Webster fire departments said they came in solidarity. West Webster Fire District Commissioner Tom Link said they would follow the case wherever it may be tried.

"It's our intent to let the defense know that we're going to see to it that this doesn't go under the radar. We're going to be there every step of the way."

"We are going to be supporting them through this whole process from start to end and make sure hopefully this person is prosecuted to the fullest extent so this won't happen to another firefighter again," said Webster Fire Chief Craig Akins.

Dawn Nguyen remains out on bail. She's is due back in court May 23.

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