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Attorney who staged own shooting pleads to misdemeanor

Dave Stafford
September 25, 2013
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A southern Indiana lawyer who rigged a shotgun at a state park that he used to shoot himself in the back has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and will receive a suspended sentence while avoiding a felony conviction.

Peter Raventos, 44, who practiced in Spencer, entered a plea of guilty to a count of Class B misdemeanor false reporting Tuesday in Owen Circuit Court, according to his attorney, Paul J. Watts of Spencer. Prosecutors dropped a Class D felony charge of obstruction of justice as part of the plea deal.

Watts said Raventos will undergo counseling and must make restitution and provide a small amount of community service. But why Raventos staged his own shooting at McCormick’s Creek State Park near Spencer is still a mystery.

“The prosecuting attorney was reasonable and fair in evaluating the case. Mr. Raventos was going through a very bad time,” Watts said, calling the disposition appropriate in light of the facts of the case.

Owen County Prosecutor Donald VanDerMoere II said Raventos’ sentence orders that he be assessed and complete any mental-health and substance abuse counseling ordered and that he serve probation for one year. Raventos also is ordered to stay out of Indiana State Parks during the period of his probation, VanDerMoere said.

VanDerMoere said Raventos never provided investigators with a motive, but the prosecutor said Raventos did provide Department of Natural Resources investigators statements that allayed their fears. VanDerMoere said Raventos told investigators that he staged the shooting only aimed at himself, and that he didn’t stage the shooting with the intent of pursuing financial gain.

Raventos called 911 at 10:05 p.m. June 25, 2012, and told conservation officers he had been shot in the back by an unknown gunman. Conservation officers said evidence collected at the scene, in subsequent searches of Raventos’ car and his home suggested he staged the event to portray himself as the victim of a random shooting.

Raventos was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where he was treated for wounds inflicted by more than 20 shotgun pellets.

Authorities said Raventos’ claim of an assailant in the park quickly began to unravel.  From witness interviews and evidence, conservation officers concluded that Raventos rigged a shotgun so he could fire it at himself from some distance.

Witness statements led conservation officers to an area of the park where the shooting was believed to have occurred, DNR said. There officers found evidence including bungee cords, fishing line, a spent shotgun shell, an unspent shotgun shell and a small piece of plywood embedded with shotgun pellets, likely indicating a practice firing.

Conservation officer scuba divers searched the nearby White River and located a 20-gauge shotgun that was later linked to Raventos.

Raventos was admitted to practice law in October 1995. He was among more than 300 attorneys suspended in June under a blanket order of the Indiana Surpeme Court for CLE, fee and IOLTA violations.

Raventos could not be reached for comment.




 

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