Weatherford Democrat

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October 31, 2012

Police find bullets in woman's bra

PARKER COUNTY — Weatherford police made arrests over the weekend in connection with two unrelated assaults involving guns, including an incident where a woman allegedly hid 13 bullets in her bra to keep a suspect out of trouble.

Austin Michael Ponticelli, 21, accused of pointing a gun at a 26-year-old man during a fight, was arrested and charged with second degree felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and a class A misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury.

Madeline Lauren Lawther, 18, who reportedly denied to police that the gun was loaded and hid 13 .40-caliber bullets in her clothing, was charged with a class B misdemeanor interference with public duties.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, officers responded to a disturbance in the 100 block of Kathey where a caller reported that a man walked into the road after exhibiting a firearm.

Officers reportedly located Ponticelli and Lawther standing behind an open driver side door of a pickup.

Asked where the firearm was, both initially denied there was a gun, according to the probable cause affidavit.

After asking Ponticelli for consent to search the vehicle, Ponticelli then told him there was a pistol located under the back seat.

An officer located a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun in the truck, according to the affidavit. It was not loaded and the magazine was empty.

A 26-year-old man at the scene told officers that there had been a verbal argument earlier that evening that he believed to have been resolved.

However, the man said Ponticelli approached him and tried to get him into the road to fight him.

Another man reportedly stepped in and twice attempted to separate the two men but was thrown or pulled to the ground twice.

Other bystanders reportedly pulled the two men apart and the 26-year-old told the others that he and his friend were leaving. As he went to get his friend, Ponticelli reportedly approached him walking rapidly, according the officer’s statement.

The man stated that “Ponticelli stopped just inside the gate in the backyard and raised a black semi-automatic pistol with two hands and pointed it at him,” the affidavit states.

Ponticelli then allegedly told the man that he was going to kill him.

The man told police that he dropped the cooler he was holding and raised his hands above his head and began walking slowly backwards in an attempt to get behind a pickup parked in the backyard. He then got under the vehicle.

Ponticelli then released the magazine from the pistol and ejected a round from the chamber, according to the man’s account.

The man said he got out from under the truck and Ponticelli began running at him, so he tackled Ponticelli and punched him once in the face.

Lawther repeatedly told another officer that the weapon did not have any rounds. However, after an officer found a .40-caliber round in the driveway near where the man said it had been ejected, Lawther reportedly told the officer she had the rounds from the magazine hidden inside her bra.

She then removed the rounds and gave them to police.  

Both were released from the Parker County Jail later that day on bond.

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