The Yale retiree accused of bringing a rifle to campus last month pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in New Haven Superior Court on Thursday and, according to two employees at the court clerk’s office, will serve six years of probation.
The retiree, John Petrini, 61, appeared in court to enter pleas for the five charges he originally faced, including two felonies: carrying a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle. But all five of the charges were dropped Thursday and replaced with the two misdemeanors of reckless endangerment and criminal trespass.
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”9521″ ]
The two clerk’s office workers said Petrini was sentenced to one and a half years of prison time for the two misdemeanors. But instead of the prison sentence, Petrini will complete six years of probation, as long as he does not step foot on Yale’s campus and undergoes psychological evaluation, they said. If Petrini violates his probation rules, he will be sent to jail to fulfill the original sentence.
Also on Thursday, Petrini’s lawyer, Jamie Alosi, argued to place Petrini in an accelerated rehabilitation program, which drops minor charges for first-time offenders who complete their probation.
Alosi did not respond to multiple phone calls requesting comment over the weekend. Petrini declined to comment in court Thursday, and his sister-in-law declined to comment over the weekend.
Alosi told the News in mid-September that because Petrini had no prior criminal record, he was not considered a threat. Offenders found guilty of certain felonies are not eligible for the accelerated rehabilitation, but those, like Petrini, who only have misdemeanors can participate.
Yale police arrested Petrini on Sept. 10 in the parking lot of 221 Whitney Ave. He had aroused suspicion when he entered the lobby of 155 Whitney Ave. and asked an employee working there to direct him to the University’s Human Resources Department, which had relocated to 221 Whitney Ave. over the summer.
The employee noticed a long case that Petrini was carrying, and asked whether Petrini had a gun. When the retiree refused to answer and left the building, the Yale employee used a blue phone to contact the Yale Police Department. Upon finding Petrini near his dump truck in a parking lot near 221 Whitney Ave., the Yale Police bomb squad secured the area and searched the vehicle. According to the police report, police officers later found a rifle, an eight-and-a-half-inch butcher knife and more than 20 rounds of ammunition in the vehicle.
The year before the arrest, the University Benefits Office denied an appeal that Petrini had filed for retirement benefits. Vice President for Human Resources and Administration Michael Peel told the News in September that Petrini’s appeal was denied because when Petrini left the University, he did not meet the minimum age requirement of 55 to be eligible for the benefits.
“We’re just surmising that was what his issue was,” Peel said at the time. “I don’t know for a fact that was why he was heading to the Human Resources office.”
After his arrest, Petrini, a former employee at the Yale Physical Plant, signed an agreement with the University that bars him from ever setting foot on Yale’s campus again.