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Lawyer accused of staging shooting avoids trial

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A southern Indiana attorney accused of staging his shooting a little more than a year ago will avoid a trial that had been scheduled to begin Wednesday. The attorney will enter a guilty plea next month, but attorneys involved with the case said they won’t disclose details.

Authorities say evidence suggests Peter Raventos, 44, of Bloomington, rigged a shotgun to stage a shooting at McCormick’s Creek State Park near Spencer on June 25, 2012. Raventos called 911 a little after 10 p.m. to report he had been shot, and he attempted to portray himself the victim of a random gunman, investigators said.

Raventos, who practiced in Spencer, had been scheduled to stand trial Wednesday on a Class D felony charge of obstruction of justice and a Class B misdemeanor count of false informing. But Owen County Prosecutor Donald R. VanDerMoere II said a plea deal will resolve the case.

“Until it actually goes forward, I’m not at liberty to disclose” details of the resolution, VanDerMoere said. Court records show a change of plea hearing has been set for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 27 before Owen Circuit Judge Pro Tem Kelsey Hanlon.

Raventos’ attorney, Paul Watts of Spencer, declined to comment, and Raventos could not be reached. The telephone number listed for him on the Indiana Roll of Attorneys has been disconnected.

A felony conviction would lead to a request for suspension from the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission, but Raventos already has been suspended from practice. He is among more than 300 attorneys suspended May 31 for failing to meet continuing legal education requirements, pay fees or for IOLTA violations. Raventos was suspended for all of those reasons, according to the order.

As Raventos was being treated last year for wounds inflicted by more than 20 shotgun pellets that struck him in the back, conservation officers and police said his story began to unravel. They interviewed witnesses at the park who told them they heard distant shots fired well before the time Raventos called 911.

When authorities searched the area near the shooting, they found bungee cords, fishing line, a spent shotgun shell, an unspent shotgun shell and a small piece of plywood embedded with shotgun pellets, suggesting an earlier test. Conservation officer K-9 units searching the area also found a shotgun wad — a small plastic cup inside a shotgun shell casing that separates the pellets from the gunpowder. When fired, the wad is expelled and falls to the ground.

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

“It was quite unusual from the minute we arrived,” Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement District 5 Commander Lt. Kent Hutchins said after Raventos was arrested several days later. “Evidence indicates it was staged by himself.”

Raventos was admitted to practice law in October 1995.
 
 

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  • Confused
    Could the Indiana Lawyer offer any suggestion or theory why he did (allegedly) did this? What was the point? thank you.

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