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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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.