Teenager sentenced to 3-plus years for handgun incident

A Linden teenager will spend up to seven years in state prison for firing a semi-automatic handgun once at an acquaintance at the Harvest Moon Trailer Park last August.

Robert Belton, 19, was arrested Aug. 9 after the victim called state police and told them Belton had pointed a gun at him, fired a shot, then fled. Once he was apprehended, Belton led arresting officers to the place in some nearby woods where he hid the handgun.

On Thursday morning, Judge Marc Lovecchio sentenced Belton to a minimum of 40 months in state prison on charges of possessing a firearm and reckless endangerment. The aggravated assault charges initially filed against Belton were dropped during the plea agreement process.

Belton did not have a license to possess a firearm and was not eligible for one due to a prior, juvenile criminal history. Three to six years of his sentence were assessed on the person not to possess a firearm charge.